Press Release


Media Advisory: For Immediate Release
Elle Hogan
CCAI, Director of External Relations / 202.544.8500


(Washington, D.C.) – The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group, a coalition of advocates that helped make the federal adoption tax credit permanent, was chosen by the Joint Council on International Children’s Services for its 2012-2013 Outstanding Child Advocate Award.

The award is given to a person, organization or group for dedication and commitment to children and families to ensure they live, grow, and thrive to the best of their abilities.

“The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group was unanimously selected by the committee,” said Brian Franklin, Joint Council board chairman and award committee member. “It was a no-brainer. The Working Group not only demonstrated how collaborations can work for children, but the outcome, a permanent adoption tax credit, will benefit hundreds of thousands of children for years to come. It is our honor to recognize the Working Group and its continued effort to do even more by making the Adoption Tax Credit refundable for all adoptive families.”

In 2012, the Working Group was successful in advocating to Congress the value and importance of the adoption tax credit. Legislators included provisions in the tax code that made the credit permanent.

The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group is a coalition of 144 adoption and child welfare advocates. The executive committee consists of the following organizations:

  • American Academy of Adoption Attorneys
  • Adopt America Network
  • Christian Alliance for Orphans
  • Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute
  • Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
  • The Donaldson Adoption Institute
  • Joint Council on International Children’s Services
  • National Council For Adoption
  • North American Council on Adoptable Children
  • RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association
  • ShowHope
  • Voice for Adoption


Although the tax credit was made permanent, it was not made refundable, meaning it only lowers a person’s tax liability. Many parents who adopt are middle- to lower-income families and do not have enough tax liability to benefit from the adoption tax credit. The Working Group is continuing to advocate for a refundable tax credit.

Analysis of IRS data on the credit shows that families with higher adjusted gross income (AGI) are those who benefit most from the credit (when it is not refundable). This means that families with more resources can claim more of the credit, or get the most government help. But as it stands now, many families that adopt from foster care are precisely the families who do not benefit.

A refundable adoption tax credit would make an enormous difference in terms of which families are able to make a claim. Some families will never be able to adopt without the benefit of the adoption tax credit. Adoption also promotes fiscal savings– tens of thousands of dollars are saved for every child adopted from foster care. A 2006 Children’s Bureau study found that “approximately $65,422 to $126,825 is saved for every child who is adopted rather than placed in long-term foster care.”

“As a group, we are thrilled to receive this award because all of these organizations have truly come together to ensure that the adoption tax credit is permanently in place for families formed through adoption,” said Kathleen Strottman, Executive Director, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and Secretariat of the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group. “Although our work is not finished, we are committed to continuing our collective advocacy because, unfortunately, Congress did not extend the refundable provision of the tax credit. This piece is important since many adoptive families are not able to access this benefit without it.”

Congress is currently in the process of reviewing federal tax policy for broad reform. On behalf of children waiting to be adopted, and adoptive families, the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group found it important to weigh in on these federal conversations and recently submitted a statement to legislators with recommendations to improve the adoption tax credit.

The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group will be presented the Outstanding Child Advocate Award on May 21 during the opening session (8:45 – 10 a.m.) of the 37th Annual Child Welfare Symposium. This year’s symposium is in New York City at The Conference Center, 130 E. 59th Street. For more information, contact the Joint Council on International Children’s Services at (703) 535-8045 or email

About the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group
The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group is a national collaboration of more than 140 organizations and individuals uniting to support the cause of adoption by advocating for the adoption tax credit. We believe the adoption tax credit is an important resource to help children find forever families and make adoption affordable for all. Our goal is to have an adoption tax credit that is: inclusive, permanent, refundable, and flat for special needs.