Foster Coalition Supports Foster Care Tax Credit Act
Senators Kaine and Heitkamp re-introduce bill to support foster children, encourage more families to open their homes
Los Angeles, March 12, 2015 -- The Foster Coalition strongly supports the Foster Care Tax Credit Act, reintroduced to Congress by U.S. Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) on March 4, 2015.
This legislation would provide additional tax relief to foster parents and help cover the actual costs of caring for a foster child by establishing an inflation-adjusted, refundable tax credit of up to $1,000 per year, per foster child. This credit is prorated by the number of months a foster child is in a family’s care.
The Foster Coalition is a coalition of concerned people mobilized to support, advocate and amplify awareness of children in foster care and those waiting for adoption. This is achieved by the promotion of foster care- and adoption-related awareness through public relations efforts, government outreach and grassroots social media campaigns.
“With 400,000 children passing through the U.S. foster care system each year, we need to make it easier and more appealing for good, loving families to come forward as foster parents,” said Leah Burdick, founder of the Foster Coalition. “This bill is a positive step in that direction.”
The benefits afforded to foster care families through the Foster Care Tax Credit Act will attempt to alleviate the 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 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.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2012 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System( AFCARS), 56% of foster children who were adopted with public agency assistance were adopted by their foster parents.
Burdick continued, “We know that foster children who are adopted into permanent homes rather than “aging-out” of the system at age 18 are less likely to become incarcerated, homeless and require government assistance. The Foster Care Tax Credit Act encourages more families to open their homes as foster parents. The data shows this leads to more adoption and ultimately fewer costly social problems because fewer will age-out of the system without having been adopted.”
The bill also directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Treasury, to increase outreach and education to state and Indian tribal foster care agencies and to educate foster families on the tax benefits available.