Iowa needs the Adoption, Child tax credits

Last week in Council Bluffs I had the opportunity to meet with parents who inspired me with their bravery and generosity by being strong advocates for an issue I’ve been passionate about for years: adoption.

They told me what had inspired them to become adoptive parents along with some of the challenges that adoption posed – particularly from a financial standpoint.

As a parent, I’ve always fought to do everything possible to get children into the homes of loving parents. The opportunities children get from adoption have lifelong impacts on those children and on local communities throughout Iowa. In addition to the foundation provided by a family support network, children adopted by loving parents have access to greater education and job opportunities.

Given the positive effect adoption can have on Iowa and all across America, I’ve continued to ask myself what I could do to allow more families to make the ultimate act of generosity by taking a child into their home.

That’s why, when the Adoption Tax Credit was at risk of being eliminated, I fought to make that valuable adoption tool permanent. The credit, which is used to offset the significant expenses faced by adoptive parents, can sometimes make the difference that allows a child to be placed in a loving home. Many of the families I spoke to in Council Bluffs mentioned this legislation as critically important in the effort to expand adoption in Iowa – and I’ll continue fighting any effort to eliminate that important tax credit.

To put this one-time $13,000 Adoption Tax Credit into perspective, we must consider that it costs taxpayers $47,000 to keep a child in foster care, per year. Through the Adoption Tax Credit, we help that child find a home, and actually save taxpayers money.

Fighting to preserve this adoption incentive isn’t enough – Iowa families need more. As any parent could tell you, raising a child is expensive, and many of the costs associated with it – particularly childcare and education – have skyrocketed in recent years. All parents, including those who make the courageous decision to adopt, should have the full benefit of the Child Tax Credit in order to offset a small part of these rising expenses.

Unfortunately, the value of the Child Tax Credit (currently $1,000 annually) has plummeted since it was last raised in 2001. In the last 13 years, inflation has eroded the Child Tax Credit’s value by nearly 50 percent – while the costs of education and childcare have dramatically increased. In fact, in just the last ten years the average annual cost of childcare has increased by over $2,000 for the average American family.

To help offset these costs I recently introduced legislation that would double the Child Tax Credit to $2,000 – restoring its value and helping families all over Iowa. Parents across our state know that raising a child is a costly endeavor – but I’m committed to do what I can to make sure that the decision to raise a child in a loving home isn’t too great a financial burden.

Iowa’s parents, including those bringing adopted children into their homes, are the backbone of our state and will teach our next generation the values Iowans have always cherished – honesty, independence, and hard work. Those are the values I’ve fought to teach my children and I’ll continue fighting to ensure that families across Iowa have the resources they need to raise children in the best possible environment.