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Foster Care – Is it Expensive?

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, one of the misconceptions about adoption is that it’s expensive. In reality, foster care adoption is very affordable (Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, n.d.). In many instances, Federal and State assistance programs are available during and after the adoption process. Many states offer different types of assistance, the policies in Austin, TX vary from others.

Foster parents also receive monthly compensation per child and reimbursement for expenses, including room, board, clothing, medical and dental expenses. Many prospective parents do not know that adopting children from foster care is virtually free; private or international adoptions can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $30,000 or more. Families can typically recoup most or all of these expenses after finalization through the federal adoption tax credit (Adoptive Families: The Resource & Community for Adoption Parenting).

In addition, the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) provides financial assistance for eligible adoptive children with special needs. Special needs include children of minority or ethnic groups as well as children with cognitive, emotional or physical disabilities. Children remain eligible for AAP through their 18th birthday. They also are eligible to receive Medi-Cal benefits through the age of 18.

A growing number of companies and government agencies offer adoption assistance as part of their employee benefits packages. These packages often include time off for maternity/paternity leave, financial incentives, and other benefits. In addition, Congress provides federal tax credits available for foster care adoptions to help offset required fees and expenses.

In June 2001, the President signed a revised adoption tax credit to increase the credit to $10,000 for all adoptive families (Families for Children). Benefits enable more families to adopt foster children into their homes. More information is available in the IRS Publication 968 “Tax Benefits for Adoption”. You can call 1-800-829-3676 to learn more.

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