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State Will Fund Adoption Subsidies for Children with Special Needs

Indiana adoption advocates say there’s excitement in the community after the state announced it will resume funding the State Adoption Subsidy for parents who adopt special needs children from foster care.

The Department of Child Services stopped providing the subsidies in 2009.  It was the peak of the recession and agency budgets were being slashed. 

But as the economy rebounded, the funding didn’t resume and the department cited a lack of money appropriated by the legislature.  That’s despite the fact the agency returned more than $200 million to the state’s General Fund in the last few years.  The Pence administration Tuesday announced it would provide the subsidies this fiscal year, about $10 million for 1,800 families. 

Sharon Pierce is the CEO of the adoption agency, The Villages. She says research shows the subsidies lead to more adoptions.

“They encourage families who aren’t sure about their stability economically – and I think that’s the reality of the times we’re living in – to take that step, that this is a partnership between the state of Indiana and the adoptive families,” Pierce said.

The funding is only scheduled for this fiscal year, which ends next July.  But Children’s Bureau Vice President of Adoption Brooke Clawson says she’s encouraged by what she’s seeing from Governor Pence.

“‘We want to be the most adoption-friendly state in the union.’ I’ve heard him say that several times and this is a step in that direction,” Clawson said.

Pence also signed into law this year a $1,000 per adoptive child tax credit that will begin next year.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.