Conservatives Push to Revive Obamacare Adoption Tax Break

Conservatives Push to Revive Obamacare Adoption Tax Break

By Alan K. Ota, CQ Roll Call

Rep. Diane Black has taken the lead strengthening GOP support for a bipartisan plan to revive refundable tax credits for adoption-related expenses that were part of the 2010 health care law but expired.

While the GOP looks to uproot pillars of the health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152), conservatives such as Black, R-Tenn., and Trent Franks, R-Ariz., are joining with the likes of Danny K. Davis, D- Ill., to support a proposal (HR 2434) Black says is needed to strengthen families. Black expressed confidence Republicans would support the measure, even though it revives language that was part of President Barack Obama’s top legislative achievement.

“I don’t think most people are even going to connect it to that. But even if they did, it is such and important issue I think that is something that people will find they can support,” Black said.

Black’s proposal and companion measure (S 950) by Sen. Bob Casey, D- Pa., would restore language that made the adoption tax credit refundable for two years ending in 2011. Black said refundable incentives would support adoptions by low-income families, who do not earn enough taxable income to make use of tax credits.

“Almost half of all children adopted from foster care live in households with incomes at or below 200 percent of the poverty threshold. The tax code should work for these families that open their hearts and their homes to adoption — not against them,” Black said.

She and other supporters say the legislation would help to turn homes for more than 400,000 children In foster care into “forever homes” for adopted children. Currently, about 50,000 adoptions are arranged annually by public welfare agencies.

While emphasizing the benefits for low-income families, advocates like Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., say they are trying address concerns raised by deficit hawks about the potential for fraudulent claims for refundable incentives such as the earned income tax credit and child tax credit. “There is a lot of fraud out there, and there have to be consequences. But on this one, I think the chances for that are minimal, because of the nature of the process. And it is not a recurring benefit,” Tillis said

In addition to playing down fraud concerns, Franks has made the case that the refundable adoption credit would help to curb federal spending over time. “Keeping children in families saves society money by breaking children out of a cycle we know for so many, often leads to homelessness, welfare, incarceration or other tragic outcomes,” Franks said.

Families now may claim a credit for up to $13,190 for expenses related to adoption, including travel, legal and placement fees and other costs. The benefit was first enacted in 1996 (PL 104-188), expanded in 2001 (PL 107-16) and made permanent by the 2012 fiscal cliff deal (PL 112-240).

In coming weeks, Black and Casey say they’ll work with the 130-member bicameral adoption caucus, and they say the legislation could move as an add-on to must-pass legislation at the end of the year. Casey said he doubted the measure would be part of a potential business tax overhaul, but that it could be added to a package of tax break extensions.

“I think it will be in the context of extenders, or it could be a stand-alone bill,” Casey said.

Becky Weichhand, executive director of the Congressional Adoption Coalition Institute, an education and support group, said that the fate of adoption tax credit would hinge on the ability of lawmakers to build consensus in both parties, particularly within the GOP’s right wing.

“A lot of conservative members are supporting because they have spoken out about the moral obligation to support children living in families,”

Adult Adoption Story

             John Romano’s Tampa Bay Times June 7, 2015 Column:  Adoption was in the cards for Foster teen beautifully illustrates the adoption journey of precious Mariah Boyd, and how Mariah and her soon-to-be adoptive mom, Amy Foster, came into one another’s orbit. Exquisite outcome and a testament to perseverance and belief, never lose hope.

             Mr. Romano’s column also shines a welcome light on adult adoption, a lawful-in-Florida and long-on-the-books statutory mechanism for establishing one’s “forever family”, the exact path, in fact, now embarked upon by Mariah and Amy.

             Under Florida law, Mariah, like many foster kids who “age out” of the system,  may still be adopted, just as adults.  It is a relatively straight-forward court proceeding with due deference given to the wishes of the adult adoptee. No home study is required and no legal parent of the adult adoptee has veto authority over the adult adoption.  All that Florida law requires is that notice of the final adoption hearing be provided to any legal parent(s).

             Adult adoption is a viable and very much alive mechanism by which “forever families” are made.  Your readers should be mindful of this option.  Precious young people like Mariah Boyd and Davion Only are waking up in our state each day, still filled with hopes and dreams of finding a “forever family to call her/his own.  Even after “aging out,” those hopes and dreams remain, be it a flicker or a flame.

             Let Mariah and Amy’s poignant story be inspiration and motivation for each of us, everyone.  Adopt a child, adopt a young adult, be enriched, be ennobled, be that special adoptee’s “forever family” for time immemorial.      

Scholarships For Children in Foster Care or in Out-of-Home Care

Step Up For Students has scholarships for children in foster care or in out-of-home care.

You can call  877-735-7837 or click here https://www.stepupforstudents.org/income-based-scholarship/for-parents-guardians/children-in-foster-care-or-out-of-home-care  for full details, but here are the high points:

Students who may qualify

A student who is/was placed at any time in foster care or out-of-home care during the current OR previous state fiscal year may be eligible (The state fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.)

  • A child in foster care is defined by the following:
  • A child in out-of-home care placement is defined by the following:
  • “Foster care” means care provided a child in a foster family or boarding home, group home, agency boarding home, child care institution, or any combination thereof, as defined by s. 39.01(29).
  • “Out-of-home” means a placement outside of the home of the parents or a parent, as defined by s. 39.01(48).
  • “Out-of-Home Care” means the placement of a child in licensed and non-licensed settings, arranged and supervised by the department or contracted service provider, outside of the home of the parent, as defined by DCF Rule: 65C-30.001 Definitions. (91).

Longevity of scholarship

  • A student who initially receives a scholarship based on eligibility due to placement in foster or out-of-home care remains eligible until the student graduates from high school or attains the age of 21 years, whichever occurs first. (Once in, always in.)
  • In cases such as reunification or adoption, etc., the child may maintain the scholarship regardless of the household income level.

Certificate of Citizenship Fee Waivers

Families that cannot afford the fees for Certificate of Citizenships can apply for a Fee Waiver.  For more information, go to www.uscus.gov/feewaiver

Certificates of Citizenship

Clients have asked if they need a Certificate of Citizenship if they already have a U.S. passport and social security number for their foreign born child. Our recommendation is YES! If child does not apply for his Certificate of Citizenship, his file with USCIS is left open. The government doesn’t knows if the adoption was finalized or if the child qualified under the Child Citizenship Act. Therefore, if that child grows up and has an issue with the law or even stays outside of the US for more than one year, USCIS has no way to verify that the child is already a United States Citizen. By obtaining the Certificate of Citizenship, the child’s file is complete and you have concrete evidence that the child is a citizen.  Many 30 and 40 year old adoptees simply do not know if they are citizens, and have to file a request pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act to find out, In addition, if there is a second adoption, the original adoptive parents frequently do not give the second set of adopting parents all of the child’s documents and this can create a nightmare. Over 60 adoptees have been deported as adults!!!  Get the Certificate of adoption and everyone can have peace of mind. You can lose a lot of documents, but USCIS will always have a record.