Amidst all the activity in Washington, DC getting attention in the news media recently, we wanted to make sure that you were aware of several issues that will soon be before Congress.
Adoption Tax Credit
The IRS recently announced new tax brackets, deductions, and credits. In 2014, the Adoption Tax Credit will be $13,190 per child, an increase from $12,700 per child in 2013. The credit begins to phase out for families whose Modified Adjusted Gross Income for the year exceeds $197,880, and is completely phased out for those whose MAGI is in excess of $237,880. However, families who adopt a “special needs” child, as defined by the Tax Code, qualify for the full credit for each special needs child regardless of actual adoption expenses incurred. The Tax Code defines a “special needs” adoption is one in which the state or country has determined that the child is not likely to be adopted unless the government provides assistance to the adoptive family.
Accuracy for Adoptees Act
On October 30, 2013, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced the Accuracy for Adoptees Act (S. 1614). The same day, Representatives Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Karen Bass (D-CA) introduced a companion bill in the House (H.R. 3386). This bill addresses the problem of the federal government not recognizing U.S. state court orders which amend an adopted child’s name and birth date. The result is that an adopted child may have different legal names and birthdates for the purposes of state and federal legal documents, which can create confusion. The Accuracy for Adoptees Act solves this problem by requiring USCIS and all other federal agencies to defer to and recognize state court orders that amend a child’s name or date of birth. Please contact your Members of Congress to support this legislation.
Children in Families First Act
On September 19, 2013, the Children in Families First Act (CHIFF) was introduced by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) in the Senate as Bill Number S. 1530. On October 23, 2013, Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives (H.R. 3323). This legislation redirects U.S. resources to focus more on ensuring that all children grow up in a family. Some key points of the legislation include:
- The creation of a focal point within the Department of State for vulnerable children and family security that will become the foreign policy and diplomatic hub on international child welfare. The current Office of Children’s Issues, Adoption Division will be moved out of the Bureau of Consular Affairs and into the human rights sector. The OCI will be strengthened so that it can more efficiently process permanency solutions for children, including adoption and reunification.
- Streamlining, consolidating, and simplifying responsibility for all processing of international adoption cases in USCIS; and
- Establishing a Center for Excellence within USAID focused on implementing the 2012 National Action Plan on Children in Adversity, A Framework for International Assistance, and providing necessary oversight of USAID resources.
Please contact your Members of Congress to urge them to support this legislation, which will help ensure that children grow up in stable, permanent families. More information can be found at http://childreninfamiliesfirst.org.