Legislators introduce bill to make adoption more affordable for families

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South Africa Play Day _1560270586134

Children arrive at Cotlands, a local non-profit organization that promotes early learning opportunities for children, on World Play Day in Johannesburg, Tuesday, May 28, 2013. Cotlands first opened it’s doors 77 years ago offering adoption services for abandoned babies. In 1996 it opened an HIV hospice to address the increased HIV birth rate which claimed […]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Press Release from Missouri Senator Roy Blunt’s Office:

Monday, U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.), Bob Casey (Pa.), and James Inhofe (Okla.) announced the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act, legislation that makes the current adoption tax credit fully refundable. Making the tax credit fully refundable will ensure that more families can benefit from this critical support.

“Over 100,000 children are waiting for adoption into a family who can give them the loving home they deserve,” Blunt said. “This bipartisan bill will restore the refundability portion of the tax credit to make adoption more affordable for hardworking families. I urge my colleagues to join me in this effort to make adoption a more viable option for parents who are eager to welcome a child into their home.”

“It is a common misconception that only wealthy families adopt,” Casey said. “We must do all we can do to ensure that all children are afforded the opportunity to grow up in a permanent, loving home. This legislation is a commonsense approach to improve lower-income families’ ability to adopt and support children from foster care.”

“My family knows firsthand the joys and blessings adoption brings,” Inhofe said. “But adoption is not without its difficulties and, too often, can be a costly process. Making the adoption tax credit fully refundable will ease that financial burden so more families can choose to adopt and welcome children into their homes.”

The adoption tax credit was made permanent in the American Taxpayer Relief Act in January 2013. However, that law did not extend the refundability provisions that applied to the adoption tax credit in 2010 and 2011. The Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act would restore the refundable portion of this critical support for families wishing to adopt.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, about one-third of all adopted children live in families with annual household incomes at or below 200 percent of the poverty level. Despite the common misperception that only wealthy families adopt, nearly 46 percent of children adopted from foster care live in families with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Many of these families’ income taxes are so low that they cannot benefit from the adoption tax credit at all unless it is refundable.

Data from 2011, which is the last year the adoption tax credit was refundable, indicates that nearly 62 percent of families who filed for the adoption tax credit benefited from refundability. Forty-one percent of families who benefited from refundability (25 percent of all families who took the tax credit) had AGIs under $50,000. This data indicates that a refundable adoption tax credit plays a significant role in lower-income families’ ability to adopt and support a child from foster care.

Getting more children into permanent homes also benefits taxpayers. The cost of adoption and permanency is significantly lower than the cost to federal, state and local governments to provide long-term foster care.

This legislation has been endorsed by the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group Executive Committee, which is comprised of 150 organizations.

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