By Lacy Scarmana
Adoptions are an expensive and time consuming legal process, but every year hundreds of families in Indiana complete this step to bring in new additions to their family.
In an attempt to reward and incentivize families who want to adopt children, the state legislature passed a bill that grants a one thousand dollar tax credit to Hoosier families that adopt.
In addition to the tax credit, Governor Mike Pence will select a committee of nine members to study adoption services across the country. The committee will then prepare recommendations for improvements by November 1.
Adoption attorney Liane Steffes from MLJ Adoptions in Carmel says the committee will look into programs or services that will increase the amount of adoptions in the state.
“Services that they can offer, incentives that they can provide – I think the committee will be looking into services like that,” she says.
One recommendation Indiana adoption advocates are making is to reinstate an adoption subsidy, which would give adoptive parents a monthly or yearly stipend. Indiana is one of only two states that do not provide this type of support. Advocates say a subsidy would open the door for federal- and state-provided services for more support such as care for children with disabilities.
Sharon Pierce, the CEO of Villages Adoption Agency, says families who are offered assistance are also more likely to adopt.
“When we have those in place, more children are adopted and those adoptions are stronger. There are fewer disruptions because families feel more confident about meeting the unique needs of the child that they have taken into their family circle,” Pierce says.