Bill to increase tax credit for Georgia adoptions heads to governor

The Georgia Senate gave final approval to legislation that aims to increase the tax credit for families who adopt children from the foster care system.

Part of a package of legislation supported by Gov. Brian Kemp to overhaul the state’s foster care system, House Bill 114 would increase the tax credit for families that adopt a child from foster care from $2,000 to $6,000 per year for five years. The measure passed unanimously.

“The purpose of this bill is to incentivize foster child adoptions because the cost associated with raising a child from foster care is oftentimes more expensive,” said state Sen. Bo Hatchett, R-Cornelia. “This bill offers much-needed support to those families that offer their hearts and their homes to those children.”

Kemp, House Speaker David Ralston and other Georgia Republicans had raised concerns that wording in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that President Joe Biden signed last week would bar tax cuts. But the U.S. Treasury Department said Wednesday that the prohibition on tax cuts wouldn’t apply to bills such as HB 114 that didn’t use COVID-19 relief funds.

Kemp is also pushing House Bill 154, which would allow people who are 21 to petition to adopt a child — something often seen among older siblings — and Senate Bill 28, which would, among other things, allow a court to consider testimony from witnesses that includes secondhand information during certain child protective hearings. Judges typically do not allow what is called “hearsay” in court proceedings.

Those bills are still making their way through the legislative process.