Missourians who adopt children or take in foster kids will get meaningful tax breaks in the future since Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed a pair of bills this week amid a rare legislative session in which child welfare is a major priority.
One of the new laws would let a foster parent who cares for a child for at least six months to take a $2,500 tax deduction for related expenses if filing as an individual and $5,000 if filing as a couple.
The other new law encourages adoption by allowing up to a $10,000 tax credit for adoption-related expenses. Until now, the credit was only available to those who adopted Missouri children with special needs.
Parson signed both bills Thursday in a ceremony on a plaza of the Capitol in Jefferson City as lawmakers, advocates and young children looked on.
The bills Parson signed Friday were among the first to reach his desk in this legislative session. Several others are moving through the pipeline at a time when child welfare supporters hold important positions in the Legislature, including foster youth turned adoptee House Speaker Rob Vescovo (R) and foster parent and bill sponsor Rep. Hannah Kelly (R).
Parson himself is attuned to the issues because his son and daughter-in-law went through the adoption process almost two years ago. In his State of the State address in January, Parson proposed a slate of reforms aimed at the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The fate of many of those proposals is yet undecided.
“Today is a really great day,” Vescovo said at the bill-signing, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I don’t think anybody will ever understand how important these two bills will be to some of these future children that we can help.”
“Every child deserves a family to provide love, support, and a strong foundation,” he said. “Missourians who take on this role as foster and adoptive parents are invaluable to the children of our state, and I am extremely pleased to sign these bills today.”