In continuing to celebrate National Foster Care Month, CCAI hosted a briefing last week to discuss what the federal government can be doing to improve parent recruitment for youth in foster care.
In an effort to bring lessons learned in the field to impact federal legislation, CCAI convened this briefing to present data and trends in foster care, and share lessons learned from successful parents recruitment models. This briefing examined data related to older youth, who more frequently languish in care and are more likely to age out of care without any promise of permanence. Agency representatives shared information about their innovative recruitment models and how federal policy was supporting their work or if policy barriers needed to be removed to allow for best practices to be used in the field.
The panel spoke to over 40 Congressional staff and adoption professionals. Click here or on the image below to view the full footage of the briefing. Also, the materials presented are available at CCAI’s website. Be sure to check back in a few days for a 2-page in-depth summary of lessons learned that were presented at the briefing.
The panel echoed the need for an increase in federal funding to support post-adoption services. In addition, several unique components of their models were shared, including:
1. Using local TV and radio media to raise awareness in the community
2. Using child-focused recruitment to identify any connections the youth may already have to caring adults that could become an adoptive parents, such as a teacher, mentor, or extended family member.
3. Using the same software and technology that debt collectors use to find extended family members who may be adoption options.
4. Bringing agency representatives to recruitment events so that adults start the adoption process before even leaving the event where they have just heard from youth themselves, social workers, and other adoptive parents.
5. Allowing relationships to build naturally by using a mentor-to-adopt model.
Just recently CCAI released our inaugural ‘CCAI In Focus’ report on the Adoption Tax Credit. While everyone was hastily working to click “submit” on the IRS website before 11:59pm on April 15th, we thought it would be a great idea to share some positive tax news. The federal adoption tax credit has been around for some time, but considering there have been some changes, most recently by President Obama’s health care legislation, we wanted to clarify a misconceptions and raise considerations that still remain.
This report was written primarily to serve federal policymakers, but has also proven useful to the adoption community in informing adoptive parents and advocates about this adoption incentive. The report includes the following information:
a brief overview of the adoption tax credit
a detailed legislative history
a list of adoption tax credit legislation that is currently pending on Congress
Despite that this credit has been around for 14 years, affordability of adoption continues to be an issue for some families. Adoption Fees can range from $0-$2,500 for foster care adoptions, up to $25,000 for private domestic adoptions, and upwards of $40,000 for intercountry adoptions. The below chart details data from a small sample of adoptive parents CCAI surveyed:
What is most shocking is that while the Adoption Tax Credit was initially created to encourage foster care adoptions, only 25% of all public adoptions took advantage of this incentive, whereas nearly all foreign adoptions were support by this credit. Another interesting point is that families whose intercountry adoptions fail are not able to receive this tax credit, whereas all domestic adoptions–even if the adoption never finalizes–are able to receive this credit.
There are two main policy considerations that are a result of the new provisions in President Obama’s health care legislation that was signed into law last month. This law 1) extends the Adoption Tax Credit through December 31, 2011, 2) increases the credit by $1,000 to $13,170, and 3) for the first time makes the tax credit refundable so that families who do not have tax liabilities will be able to take advantage of this incentive. Please refer to the report for more detailed information, and stay tuned for additional CCAI In Focus reports on hot topics related to adoption and foster care.
In November 2009, there were over 40,000 registered lobbyists in Washington, DC. Not one of these lobbyists was working without a bias for children in need of families. Unlike big industries with money, orphaned children do not have a voice on the Hill or a presence in DC. This is exactly the reason CCAI exists. We represent the needs of children by using our unique relationship with Congress to cut through the noise of many voices who seek federal policymakers’ ears to ensure that the needs of orphans and foster children are heard.
Yesterday, a member of our Advisory Board and longtime supporter of CCAI, U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced a bill to use revenue from a new online gambling tax for foster care programs. McDermott’s bill will be a companion bill to a bill that will legalize online gambling. There are several other bills currently pending in Congress that address federal financing for foster care.
Just earlier this week, President Obama signed into law the health care legislation which includes an extension to the Adoption Tax Credit. The Adoption Tax credit was originally set to expire the end of 2010, however, this new provision increases the tax credit from $12,170 to $13,170 for adoptions occurring after January 2010, and extends the tax credit to the end of 2011. CCAI will be releasing a 411 Report on the history and future of Adoption Tax Credit next month to give more information on why it was introduced and how it is working. Be sure to check our website for this report.
Another hot item related to child welfare financing is President Obama’s proposed FY 2011 budget. CWLA published a report to analyze how Obama’s proposed budget will impact federal financing of child welfare programs and services.
CCAI continues to monitor legislation that will impact foster care and adoption, as well as provide education and resources to policy makers as they work to introduce and pass legislation that will affect vulnerable children around the world.