Reps. Davis, Walorski, Bass, and Bacon Honor National Foster Care Month with Bipartisan Legislation to Help Foster Youth Find Permanent Families via Adoption
On Friday, May 7, 2021, Congressmen Danny K. Davis (D-IL) joined with Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA), and Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE) to introduce the bipartisan Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2021. The legislation would make the current Adoption Tax Credit fully refundable, helping low-income families adopt children.
The Adoption Tax Credit helps families offset some of the costs of adoption, especially for children with special needs. Currently, the tax credit disadvantages low- and middle-income families, in particular families with annual incomes between $30,000 to $50,000. This inequity is problematic given that approximately half of youth adopted from foster care live in families with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level; thus, the credit inadvertently creates barriers to permanency for a substantial number of families. During the Great Recession, Congress made the Adoption Tax Credit refundable recognizing that the economic hardship could prevent families from adopting or exact a heavy financial toll from families choosing adoption during a downturn. The Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2021 would again make this credit permanent to remove income as a barrier to adoption to help more children join permanent, loving families.
“The Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act reflects common-sense federal policy,” said Congressman Davis. “It strengthens families, removes income as a barrier to adoption, and helps vulnerable children join permanent, loving families. Former foster youth represent the majority of children adopted by families earning less than 200 percent of the poverty level. This bill will make a critical difference in the ability of lower and middle-income families to adopt, especially when so many families are struggling economically due to the pandemic. I am proud to recognize National Foster Care Month by working across the aisle to improve the Adoption Tax Credit to better help more children and families benefit.”
“Adoption is truly a blessing for both children and families,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Breaking down barriers to adoption – especially for lower- and middle-income Americans – is essential to giving foster youth and other vulnerable children a better chance to thrive. This bipartisan bill will restore refundability of the Adoption Tax Credit and help more hardworking families welcome a child into a loving, permanent home.”
“When a child is placed in the child welfare system, they become the responsibility of the government,” said Rep. Karen Bass, co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth. “It is our duty to do well by these young people, which includes helping them find forever homes. This bill will help achieve this goal by addressing income as a barrier to adoption. Too often families are unable to provide loving, permanent homes but making the current Adoption Tax Credit fully refundable will help change that. I’m proud to lead this bill with my friend, Congressman Danny Davis, and urge my colleagues to support this important bill.”
“For years, income has become a roadblock for many families wishing to adopt,” said Rep. Bacon. “As co-chair of the Foster Youth Caucus and an adoptive parent myself, I understand the need to remove this barrier by offsetting these burdensome costs. By making the adoption tax credit fully refundable, this bill makes it easier for families to adopt and gives our nation’s youth a safe, loving, and permanent home. I thank my co-leads for their partnership on this common-sense, bipartisan legislation that is desperately needed today.”
The Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2021 is supported by the 83 Members of the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group, including state and national leaders on child welfare, such as: Child Welfare League of America; Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption; Lutheran Services in America; National Council for Adoption; North American Council on Adoptable Children; and Voice for Adoption.
Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced the bipartisan Senate companion measure.
Congressman Davis and Congresswoman Walorski are Members of the House Ways and Means Committee with broad jurisdiction over Federal revenue measures. They serve as the Chairman and Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support with jurisdiction over child welfare issues. Congresswoman Bass and Congressman Bacon are co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth.