JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed two bills, April 22, that promise to help foster and adoptive parents and encourage adoptions throughout the state.
“Every child deserves a family to provide love, support, and a strong foundation,” Parson, a member of First Baptist Church, Bolivar, said in a press release. “Missourians who take on this role as foster and adoptive parents are invaluable to the children of our state, and I am extremely pleased to sign these bills today.”
As he signed the bill, the governor was surrounded by children and was accompanied by First Lady Teresa Parson.
“(The first lady) doesn’t come to too many bill signings, but this bill signing is pretty special for me and her, too,” Gov. Parson said during the ceremony. The bills were special for his own family, since his son and daughter-in-law walked through the adoption process two years ago.
Rep. Hannah Kelly (R-Mountain Grove) sponsored both bills – namely, House Bill 429 and House Bill 430.
“Today is about 13,917 children that are in the foster care system,” Kelly told lawmakers and guests at the ceremony. “And today is about the families and the hearts that are ready and waiting to give them love and security and permanency.”
House Speaker Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold, who spent time in the foster care system as a child, supported the bills and wants to see a continued focus on these issues within Missouri’s General Assembly.
HB 429 authorizes a $2,500 income tax deduction for an individual, or a $5,000 deduction for a married couple, if they provide foster care for a child for at least six months.
HB 430 expands Missouri’s existing $10,000 tax credit to any adoption. Previously, it applied only to those adopting special needs children.
Missouri Baptist Children’s Home President Russell Martin told The Pathway earlier this year that HB 429 assists “in making it easier for foster parents by providing them some tax relief for the expenses that are incurred by them as they provide foster care. These children more often than not have unique circumstances and needs that require additional time and money on the part of those providing foster care.”
Meanwhile, HB 430 expands “the availability of tax credits to any adoption and not be limited to those who adopt special needs children,” Martin added. “… Anything we can do to assist those who take on the tremendous task of foster parenting and to expedite these children reaching permanency not only provides family for these children, but also contributes to a stronger society.”