Braley Op-Ed: Let’s Help More Families Adopt Print
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Written by Jeff Giertz   
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 09:18

When people ask me who’s had the biggest influence on my life, I tell them: my mom and my dad.  When I was a kid they taught me all sorts of things – about hard work, being a good citizen, saving money for a rainy day, and helping others less fortunate.  I can definitely say that I am who I am because of the way my parents raised me.


It’s a sad fact that not every child has the blessing of a loving family.  Through no choice of their own, many children in this country are forced to grow up in the foster care system, bouncing from one foster family to another.


The gift of adoption is an incredible one, providing an opportunity to unite loving parents who are willing to open their homes with a child in need.


Unfortunately, the process of adoption is often a long and costly one – the legal fees alone can be multiple thousands of dollars.  The financial hurdles can prevent a family that would otherwise be able bring a child into their home from pursuing an adoption.


Thankfully, there’s a proven solution that helps reduce the costs of adoption for families.  For the last decade, the Adoption Tax Credit has provided a one-time tax cut of up to $12,360 for each child a family adopts.  This tax break can offset a significant amount of adoption costs.


After the tax credit was last expanded, the number of families taking advantage of it jumped by nearly 50 percent.


This adoption tax credit is scheduled to expire at the end of 2012 if Congress doesn’t act to extend it.  So I’ve introduced the Making Adoption Affordable Act to both permanently expand the credit to $13,360, peg it to inflation, and make it refundable -- allowing more families to take full advantage of it.


One side benefit of promoting adoptions is that it ultimately saves taxpayers big bucks.  Why?  The federal government helps states pay the costs of caring for orphaned children.  As of 2010, foster care costs to taxpayers averaged $47,000 per child, per year.  The tax credit only costs taxpayers $13,000 – a huge savings.


Even in the broken politics of Washington, DC, I know that helping more kids find good homes will bring people from both parties together.  This is an idea that has bipartisan appeal – and I’ll be working hard to get this extension passed into law.


If you have questions, I encourage you to contact my office:


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