Help Support the Foster Care Tax Credit Act!

Relief for Parents Who Foster for 6 Months or Less

 

The Foster Care Tax Credit Act supports short-term foster care givers & helps with foster parent recruitment

Advocates, we need your support to get the Foster Care Tax Credit Act passed. Please reach out to your representatives and ask that they support the act. We particularly need Republican support.

 

The bill was introduced by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) in early March 2015. It's currently in the Finance Committee, and we need momentum to move it forward.

More about the Foster Care Tax Credit Act

The Foster Care Tax Credit Act would seek to help the many families who care for children for six months or less, who unlike longer term foster families are not eligible for tax credit assistance, known as the Child Tax Credit, to cover the actual cost of caring for foster children. Heitkamp’s bill would make sure the families who care for children for shorter time periods are eligible for a tax credit of up to $1,000 each year. This credit is pro-rated by the number of months a foster child is in the family’s care. Click here to read the fact sheet.

 

Benefits of Encouraging More Parents to be Foster Care Givers

  • Makes foster parenting more attractive to potential parents. Foster homes lead to better outcomes for children and are less expensive to tax payers than housing children in group homes. 

    “The costs of institutional care far exceed those for foster care or treatment foster care. The difference in monthly cost can be 6 to 10 times as high as foster care and 2 to 3 times as high as treatment foster care. Since there is virtually no evidence that these additional expenditures result in better outcomes for children, there is no cost benefit justification for group care, when

    other placements are available.” (Barth, Richard P., "Institutions vs. Foster Homes, The Empirical Base for, a Century of Action")

    Pathway to adoption: 54% of children adopted from foster care are adopted by former foster parents. The more we encourage foster parenting, the more children will ultimately be adopted.

  • Lowered short-term costs. When children are adopted out of foster care, the social and financial benefits are significant. It is estimated that the government saves between $65,000 and $127,000 for each child who is adopted rather than placed in long-term foster care.

  • Lowered long-term costs and social issues. Foster children who are adopted rather than "age out" of the system at 18 or 21 yrs (depending on the state) are less likely to be homeless or incarcerated. 

    • According to HUD, it costs about $40,000/year for a homeless person to be on the streets

    • The U.S. houses 25% of the world's inmates, costing taxpayers more than $63B a year

Click here to download more specifics and sources on the above

 

How to Take Action

(1) Click here to download the letter or copy and paste the letter that appears below. Be sure to change the red text before sending.

(2) Click on the link to your Representative(s) below, paste the letter into the contact form, edit the red text areas and send.

(3) Call your Representatives. Phone messages are also very effective!

  

Who to Contact

Contacting a member of the Committtee on Foster Youth is particularly effective. Just click on their links below. Don't see a Representative from your state? Click here to find your Reps.

 

Members of the Senate Committee on Foster Youth

Co-Chairs:  Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan)

 

Members:  

James Risch (R-Idaho)

Al Franken (D-Minnesota) 

Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi)

Tim Scott (R-South Carolina)

James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma)

Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon)

Susan Collins (R-Maine) 

 

 

Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) 

Roger F. Wicker (R-Mississippi)

Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia)

Mark R. Warner (D-Virginia)

Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)

Gary C. Peters (D-Michigan)

David Vitter (R-Louisiana)

Don't see a Representative from your state? Click here to find your Reps.

Copy and Paste the Letter

 

Subject

Support the Foster Care Tax Credit Act 

 

Dear [Representative],

 

I am a constituent and a foster parent (or foster parent supporter). I write to ask for your support of the Foster Care Tax Credit Act (S. 664) that was introduced by Senator Heidi Heitkamp on March 5, 2015. 

 

As you may know, the Foster Care Tax Credit Act would seek to help the many families who care for children for six months or less, who unlike longer term foster families are not eligible for tax credit assistance, known as the Child Tax Credit, to cover the actual cost of caring for foster children. The bill would make sure the families who care for children for shorter time periods are eligible for a tax credit of up to $1,000 each year. This credit is pro-rated by the number of months a foster child is in the family’s care.

 

Foster parents make a significant and meaningful difference in the lives of so many vulnerable children by opening their hearts and homes. But we continue to struggle to recruit and retain enough foster families to ensure each child is placed in a family-like setting.

 

Caring for a child in foster care can be more expensive than caring for one’s own biological children. Children placed into foster care often have experienced significant emotional and physical trauma and have higher incidences of medical and behavioral health issues, resulting in additional costs to parents. On average, current foster care rates would have to increase almost 40% nationwide to provide for basic care.

 

The bill incentivizes more people to become foster parents, and the benefits of this are considerable. Consider:  

  • Foster children living with foster parents cost taxpayers less than housing children in group homes.  

  • Pathway to adoption: 54% of children adopted from foster care are adopted by former foster parents. The more we encourage foster parenting, the more children will ultimately be adopted.

  • Lowered short-term costs. When children are adopted out of foster care, the social and financial benefits are significant. The government saves between $65,000 and $127,000 for each child who is adopted rather than placed in long-term foster care.

  • Lowered long-term costs and social issues. Foster children who are adopted rather than "age out" of the system are less likely to be homeless and incarcerated. 

    • According to HUD, it costs about $40,000/year for a homeless person to be on the streets

    • The U.S. houses 25% of the world's inmates, costing taxpayers more than $63B a year

 

I appreciate your support.

 

Sincerely,

Your Name

City, State, Zip

 

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