The Missouri legislature has approved several measures meant to give more Missouri children a chance to get out of the foster care system and into permanent homes, and to help foster and adoptive parents afford the costs of caring for and adopting children. Governor Mike Parson plans to hold the signing ceremony for House Bills 429 and 430 on Thursday.
HB 430 expands current tax credits for the adoption of Missouri children with disabilities to be available in any adoption, while giving priority to instances involving Missouri children with disabilities. The program was capped at $6-million a year, and less than $30,000 was claimed last year.
HB 429 authorizes an income tax deduction for expenses related to providing care as a foster parent.
It also creates a “Birth Match” program. It would require the state Children’s Division and the State Registrar’s Office to compare birth reports with information on parents who have been convicted of certain crimes. When parents have history of the specified crimes, Division personnel will make contact with the family to see if any action is appropriate.
HB 429 also increases the age threshold for abandoned infants and children from one year or under to under three years old. It sets a time frame of six months before a petition of termination of parental rights is considered in cases of neglect by a parent.
The legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support. The final House vote on HB 429 was 127-8; the vote on HB 430 was 142-0.