JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A pair of bills intended to aid parents fostering and adopting children in the state of Missouri passed through a House committee Tuesday afternoon.
HB 429 would allow Missourians who serve as foster parents for at least six months to receive a tax credit to cover the cost of the process, capped at $2,500 per taxpayer or $5,000 for married couples. HB 430 would offer a $10,000 tax credit to anyone facing non-recurring adoption fees and expenses.
Priority would be given to applicants adopting children with special needs under the bill. Both changes would take effect at the beginning of next year.
Rep. Hannah Kelly, who presented both bills before the House Children and Families Committee Tuesday, said the incentives would help Missouri children find both short-term and permanent homes.
“While the number of finalized adoptions had increased in recent years, it dropped in 2019 and 2020,” Kelly said. “The number of Missouri children in foster care increased over the past decade. It’s apparent that more children in Missouri are in need of loving and permanent homes. My hope is that we can help support those parents who are willing to do the right thing for these kids and value the future and lives of these children.”
Kelly said more than 13,800 children are in the Missouri foster care system.
Nearly half a dozen witnesses testified in favor of both bills before the committee, including representatives from the Office of Child Advocate, Family Forward, and FosterAdopt Connect. No one testified in opposition.
“There are a lot of expenses with being a foster parent,” said FosterAdopt Connect’s Kaycee Nail. “In working with the families we serve, we found that only a third of expenses are typically covered with the reimbursement. Anything we can do to support these families, we’re really grateful for.”
The committee unanimously approved both bills, with members praising the effort to assist Missouri families and children.
Newly-elected Speaker Rob Vescovo, who was adopted out of foster care as a child, included the state’s adoption and foster care systems as priorities of his term during his speech before the body on the first day of session.