On the deadline for taxpayers to file their federal income tax returns, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced a bill to renew and expand a tax credit for families that choose to adopt children.
The Making Adoption Affordable Act will permanently expand the federal 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 compassionate decisions a couple can make," Braley said. "Unfortunately, it also carries with it significant financial costs.
"Renewing and expanding the adoption tax credit will help remove a barrier to more families deciding to adopt. It's a small investment that provides a big return: getting more children into loving homes and out of the costly foster care system.
"When a policy puts more kids in loving homes and also saves taxpayers millions of dollars in the process, expanding it should be a bipartisan no-brainer."
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.
Last week, Braley traveled across eastern Iowa to discuss his effort to renew and expand the adoption tax credit with Jonathan and Kayla Craig of Des Moines, who claimed the tax credit after adopting their son Joseph last year.