The role of state government, in my opinion, is to provide for those in our state who cannot provide for themselves, such as the elderly, the disabled and others. This is something I have stressed as long as I have been in public service. In the areas where the state has oversight, it should ensure local entities — and the general public — have the guidance necessary to do those things that need to be done. In this case, the issue is easing restrictions that govern adoption and foster parents.
This year, the Legislature passed two measures that look specifically at foster care and adoption. House Bill 429 addresses rules relating to child placement. This new law changes the current “Special Needs Adoption Tax Credit Act” to the “Adoption Tax Credit Act.” Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, the special needs and residency requirements for adoptions to be eligible for this tax credit will be lifted. In addition, this legislation provides a tax deduction for foster parents to help offset the costs of raising and taking care of foster children. House Bill 429 also makes changes to certain child placement and child custody rules, in the name of streamlining the process for those who either currently serve as foster parents or would like to become foster parents.
House Bill 430 relates to tax credits. More specifically, the new law addresses the adoption tax credit, domestic violence shelter tax credit and maternity home tax credit. Like HB 429, HB 430 also removes the residency and special needs requirements for recipients of the state’s adoption tax credit. The legislation also increases the tax credits available to those who donate to domestic violence shelters and maternity homes. Plus, a “child” is now identified as any individual under 18 years of age or over 18, but is physically or mentally incapable of caring for themselves.
The folks who adopt or take in foster children should not be punished for these wonderful acts; rather, they should be rewarded for what they do. In my mind, both of these new laws clear some of the red tape and offer a hand up to those people who care so much and offer these children a new home and a new hope. I am glad to see both HB 429 and HB 430 move through the process so quickly and become law.
As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is email@example.com and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.
Dan Hegeman is the 12th District State Senator.