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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 14, 2019 03:20 PM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Adoption and Foster Care Tax Credit
The opioid crisis is placing a tremendous strain on our foster care system. In fact, from 2016 to 2018, parental drug use was the primary reason children entered foster care according to data tracked by the federal Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) says one-third of the 10,340 children placed in Pennsylvania foster care between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018, were removed from their families because of drug use by one or both parents. Even as the number of children entering out-of-home care has declined by nearly 14 percent over the last three years, the proportion of children entering the system due solely to parental drug abuse has risen by 18 percent over the same timeframe.

Pennsylvania’s child welfare agencies are doing heroic work, but there simply are not enough foster families to meet the growing demand. Instead, children are being moved around among multiple homes, increasing their feelings of abandonment, disrupting their educations, and severing their relationships with relatives, teachers, and friends at a time when they need them the most.

Some counties have utilized an approach known as kinship care, where relatives or family friends step in to take care of children in need. Although this option can help relieve some of the burden, it is not a possibility for many.

I am joining Representative Tarah Toohil to address the issue by introducing legislation to provide a $1,000 adoption tax credit and a $500 foster care tax credit for families who provide permanency to children in the child welfare system.

While this bill will not solve all problems related to foster care and adoption, it is a specific response that will yield tangible, measurable results while working to protect the youngest and most vulnerable victims of Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis – our children.

I invite you to join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB445