At events in Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines today, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) announced that he's launching an effort to renew and expand a tax credit for families that choose to adopt children.
When Congress returns to session next week, Braley will introduce the Making Adoption Affordable Act, a bill that will permanently expand the adoption tax credit to $13,360 and make it refundable -- allowing more families to take full advantage of it. Unless Congress acts, the current adoption tax credit of $12,360 will expire at the end of the year.
"Deciding to adopt a child is one of the most caring decisions a couple can make," Braley said. "Unfortunately, it's a decision also carries significant financial costs with it. This can be a barrier for many couples.
"The adoption tax credit is a small investment that provides a huge return: getting more children into loving homes and out of the costly foster care system.
"When a policy puts more kids in good families and also saves taxpayers millions of dollars in the process, renewing it should be a no-brainer. Expanding the adoption tax credit makes even more sense and will help even more parents and children."
Braley was joined at the events today by Jonathan and Kayla Craig and their adopted son Joseph, who live in Des Moines. Kayla's father, a Waterloo resident, appealed to Braley's office for help when Joseph's adoption almost fell through due to bureaucratic red tape and errors. Jonathan and Kayla are claiming the adoption tax credit on their 2011 federal income tax return. The deadline to file federal income taxes is April 16th.
The federal government partners with states to care for orphaned children. Adoption is preferable to foster care not only because it results in better outcomes for children, but because it is far less costly for taxpayers. As of 2010, foster care costs to taxpayers averaged $47,000 per child, per year.
The adoption tax credit is a proven incentive to promote adoptions. Before its last expansion in 1998, the tax credit was claimed after only 50,400 adoptions. After expansion, in 2004, the tax credit was claimed in nearly 87,000 adoptions, representing a nearly 50 percent increase.