Missouri has more than 2,000 children awaiting adoption and a bill passed this year aims to help more of them find their forever home.

The state legislature passed a bill this year that would make Missouri’s adoption tax credit refundable. Representative Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove, is proposing the current per-child tax credit limit of up to $10,000 dollars be adjusted with inflation.

“Adoption can unfortunately sometimes be incredibly expensive,” said Kelly. “We have made the tax credit refundable, which means that if I have a one- time expense for adopting, that can be applied and I can see a return on that expense that is not dependent on the amount of money that I do or don’t owe the state for taxes.”

The cost for the state to care for a child in foster care is an average of $25,000 annually.

“I’d rather have that one-time expense than to have a kid stuck in a system for six, seven years at $25,000 a year or more, depending on the kid’s needs and situations,” she said.

Lawmakers also removed the $6 million maximum annual spending limit on this tax credit.

“We are responsible for these kiddos in our care,” said Kelly. “And I know that if we can help a family up to $10,000 per child, get through this process and get on the other side of adoption and get out of the court system, it’s not only number one, in the best interest for the child that needs to be adopted. Number two, it’s being responsible and smart with taxpayer dollars.”

The governor has until July 14 to make a decision on the bill, or else it will become law all on its own.

Kelly attached her bill to Senate Bill 24.

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