JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - Families that provide a stable home to children in need would receive additional financial assistance under the first two pieces of legislation approved by the Missouri House of Representatives for the 2021 legislative session.
The bills (HB 429 and HB 430), which are sponsored by state Rep. Hannah Kelly, are a top priority for House Speaker Rob Vescovo, who was adopted as a child after spending time in Missouri’s foster care system.
“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,” said Vescovo, R-Arnold. “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.”
By a vote of 149-0, the House approved HB 429, which would authorize an income tax deduction for Missouri taxpayers for the expenses related to providing care as a foster parent.
The bill would authorize a deduction of $2,500 for an individual and $5,000 for a married couple if foster care is provided for at least six months.
Kelly said the income tax deduction will allow foster parents to utilize these additional funds to provide for the children they foster, and will enable more families to foster who might otherwise be financially unable.
“If you’ve been a foster parent, or know someone serving as a foster parent, you know that the reality of a foster parent is you get babies dropped at your doorstep, and you need a baby bed, and you need a nursery, and you need diapers. And sometimes as a foster parent, you know what it means to need to immediately find a bigger car so that everybody can safely have a seat on the way to school or on the way to the doctor’s appointment,” said Kelly, R-Mountain Grove, who noted Missouri currently has 13,808 children in the foster care system.
HB 430 was approved by the House by a vote of 155-0.
It would expand the state’s existing $10,000 tax credit to any adoption.
Currently the credit applies only to Missouri taxpayers who adopt special needs children.
The legislation would continue to give priority to special needs adoptions.
An amendment added on the House floor would allow the adoption tax credit to be claimed by Missouri taxpayers who adopt an individual who is 18 years of age or older but is physically or mentally incapable of caring for himself or herself.
With the approval of the House of Representatives, the two bills now move to the Missouri Senate for consideration.