Pending legislation would expand foster care tax credit program

Pending legislation would expand foster care tax credit program
Becoming foster parents isn't an option for every family. But donating to non-profits that help those children can be a more indirect way to contribute. (Source: WLBT)

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -Becoming foster parents isn’t an option for every family. But donating to nonprofits that help those children can be a more indirect way to contribute. Nonprofits like Baptist Children’s Village are helping fill in the gaps and leverage resources for the needs of the state’s strained foster care system.

“We’re licensed by the state which means we can care for the children that the state has to take into custody," explained Baptist Children’s Village Executive Director Sean Milner. "However, we don’t receive any money from the state or the federal government.”

Only private donations make that work possible. And the proposed tax credits would allow them to invite more people to contribute.

“It’ll incentivize them to do even more," noted Milner. "It’ll be a true partnership between the state and the tax paying base to help and come together and partner to do what is necessary for the children in Mississippi.”

Federal funding has changed for many of the non-profits, making the need for private donors even greater. Groups are working to strengthen the foster care tax credit bill that passed last year. One addition would be a $15 million business tax credit.

“This is for a Toyota or a Nissan or CSpire to donate a million dollars to groups so they can expand their services to children across the state and we know that that money is going to have a great return on investment," said Dr. Jameson Taylor with Mississippi Center for Public Policy and vice chair of the Mississippi Faith-Based Advisory Council. "It’s going to save the state money in the long run.”

There is a limit on how much of the tax credits individuals can get, $500 per person or $1,000 per married couple. The bill seeks to increase the cap on individual tax credits from $1 million to $3 million.

Another nonprofit that could benefit is Canopy Children’s Solutions. They help both families in crisis trying to keep from having their children taken into care and those families who are bringing foster children into their homes.

“Really make sure they have everything they need whether that’s school supplies, baby formula, mattresses, clothing," explained Canopy Children’s Solutions Chief Solutions Officer Shea Hutchins. "We’re not just getting it for them and handing it to them. We’re also saying, here are the resources in your community. But the tax credit is a way for everyone to be able to participate, to give back.”

The bill has passed the House and is currently in the Senate Finance Committee. It faces a Tuesday deadline in the Senate.

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