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Parson signs foster care, adoption support bills

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson gathered with lawmakers and families Thursday to sign a pair of bills meant to assist families adopting and fostering children. 

HB 429 will 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 will 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 will take effect at the beginning of next year.

“Every child deserves a family to provide love, support, and a strong foundation,” Parson said. “Missourians who take on this role as foster and adoptive parents are invaluable to the children of our state, and I am extremely pleased to sign these bills today.” 

Parson held a ceremonial bill signing Thursday, with sponsor Rep. Hannah Kelly, Senate handler Sen. Andrew Koenig, and Speaker Rob Vescovo on hand for the event. Several children gathered around the chief executive to sign ceremonial copies of the legislation. 

“Today is about [the] 13,970 children that are in the foster care system, and today is about the families whose hearts are ready and waiting to give them security and permanency,” Kelly said. “We’re going to be able to say we helped do that long after we’re gone and these kids are leading the future of this great state.”

Rep. Hannah Kelly
Rep. Hannah Kelly sponsored HBs 429 and 430 aimed at supporting adoptive and foster families. (THE MISSOURI TIMES/CAMERON GERBER)

HB 430 passed back to the House earlier this month with amendments attached that would create a Birth Match Program and expand tax credits for contributions to domestic violence shelters and maternity homes. Colleen Coble, CEO of the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV), praised the measure’s passage. 

“MCADSV is celebrating 15 years after expanding its mission and purpose to also include sexual assault. To achieve the establishment of a rape crisis center tax credit during sexual assault awareness month is something to celebrate,” Coble told The Missouri Times. “We are thankful to Rep. Kelly, Sen. Koenig, and Gov. Parson for their work on this critical legislation that will help provide life-changing services to sexual assault and domestic violence victims.”

The bills were the first to make the leap to the upper chamber, with both pieces passing unanimously in January. They were passed back to the lower chamber and finally passed earlier this month. 

Vescovo, who was adopted out of foster care as a child, listed the state’s adoption and foster care systems as a priority of his tenure in office. 

Parson also signed Sen. Dan Hegeman’s SB 2, which alters the Missouri Works program, prior to the ceremony.

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