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House passes foster care, adoption assistance bills

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A pair of bills from Rep. Hannah Kelly seeking to help Missourians fostering or adopting children passed through the House Wednesday, the first bills to make the leap to the upper chamber this session.

“We are starting off the year on a very good note and we are speaking on behalf of people who without us sometimes won’t have a voice,” Kelly said. “I believe this is a very good way to show the families that are wanting to help support individuals that we want to support them as well to make sure everyone has the opportunity to have a safe and happy place to call home.”

HB 429 would allow Missourians who serve as foster parents for at least six months to receive a tax deduction 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.

Kelly’s bills were perfected by the house earlier this week, the first legislation in either chamber to reach that stage. The bills were unanimously approved both times. 

Speaker Rob Vescovo, who was adopted out of foster care as a child, listed 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.

“I want to thank my colleagues for giving their overwhelming bipartisan support to these pieces of legislation that can help offset a portion of the significant cost associated with fostering and adopting vulnerable young people,” Vescovo said in a statement. “This is a change that can and will encourage more families to open their homes to kids who need and deserve a stable, nurturing environment. As someone who was given a better life by my adoptive parents, I want to see all children have these same opportunities to grow into healthy, productive adults.”