Culture & the Family

Michael Carnuccio | August 22, 2014

Free Market Friday: Fostering stability

Michael Carnuccio

Right now, some 400,000 American children are in foster care, as well as uncounted thousands more in other nations who are eligible for adoption. Americans have always been among the most generous on earth in opening their homes to adoptees, and the benefits of adoption are obvious.

Children adopted into stable homes are much more likely to live full, satisfying lives than if they had remained in often-unstable or even dangerous environments. Since healthy families are a foundation of a healthy, prosperous society, adoption makes sense for many reasons and ought to be encouraged and supported by government policies.

In fact, studies have shown that adopted children are just as loved and supported as those born naturally to parents. In many cases, adoption is their best chance for success and happiness.

Unfortunately, the federal adoption tax credit, which has done much to assist adoptive families, was made nonrefundable some years ago. That means that if you spend $10,000 adopting a child, and your tax liability is only $7,000, you are out the other $3,000.

Because adoption needs to be carefully handled to assure that children are placed in safe and stable homes, the expenses involved in adopting can be substantial. Adopting a child from overseas can be even more costly. The refundable tax credit helped hundreds of thousands of families for many years.

Thankfully Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe has plunged into this issue with federal legislation that would restore refundable status for all adoption expenses. His Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act would make adoption less of an economic burden for many families and encourage more adoptions.

Here at the state level, Reps. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, and Tom Newell, R-Seminole, are also working on legislation to help parents. Their bill would create Education Savings Accounts. This innovative concept – now law in Arizona and Florida – allows parents to bank a portion of a child’s per-pupil funding and use it for tutoring, private-school tuition, online learning, or other educational expenses.
Oklahoma should include in that plan what Arizona has already done: Ensure that ESAs are available to children adopted from foster care or placed with a family and having an adoption case plan.

A government that is serious about supporting stable and healthy families should encourage adoption.

Michael Carnuccio

Former OCPA President

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