Georgia Senate unanimously approves tax breaks for donations to foster care programs

Credit: Alyssa Pointer /

Credit: Alyssa Pointer /

The state Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved legislation that would grant tax credits to Georgians who donate to nonprofit organizations that help young adults who’ve “aged out” of the foster care program.

Under Senate Bill 370, Georgians could qualify for tax credits up to $2,500 to match their donations to qualified organizations that assist those in foster care who’ve turned 18 and have legally become an adult. Married couples filing jointly would receive up to $5,000 in tax credits.

The proposal, which originated in Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan’s office, would cap the program at $20 million per year.

Athens Republican state Sen. Bill Cowsert, who is sponsoring the bill on Duncan’s behalf, said while he typically doesn’t support granting tax credits to different private businesses and industries, helping young adults who were in the foster care program benefits the public at large.

“This tax credit is taking public funds and using them for public purposes — and they are great vital purposes to protect aging-out foster kids to help them make it in the world,” Cowsert said.

Donations would be used for expenses such as a young adult’s college or technical school tuition, housing and medical costs. The bill unanimously passed the Senate Finance Committee last week.

Duncan said as his oldest son has made friends in recent years with young adults who have gone through the foster care system, he’s seen a need to improve the state’s program.

“We’re sending an important message, a unanimous message, to the hundreds of foster kids who age out of the system,” he said.

SB 370 now goes to the House for its consideration.