The rate of children entering the foster care network in Ohio is at a historic high, in part because of the state’s drug problems. According to the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, as many as 19,000 children could soon be in the foster care system in 2020.
Yet, the high cost of adoptions could be keeping children from being adopted. Families navigating the adoption process can incur costs of more than $50,000.
But more parents may be able to afford adoption under the “Family Forward” initiative announced earlier this month by Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague and state Rep. Jon Cross, R-Kenton.
The proposal, which will be introduced in the House, could make families eligible for reduced-interest loans for qualified adoption-related expenses up to $50,000.
Expenses can include adoption agency expenses, court expenses and fees, expenses incurred on behalf of the birth mother, health and psychological examination fees, home studies, and travel expenses when necessary for prospective parents.
Loan applicants would work with an eligible lending institution to apply for a loan through Family Forward. Once approved, the treasurer’s office deposits funds with the bank at a below-market rate. The bank then passes the interest savings on to the borrowers.
The rates available through Family Forward would be similar to those offered through the state treasurer’s existing linked deposit loan programs, including Ag-LINK, ECO-Link, GrowNOW, and ReEnergize Ohio.
The funding assistance program would serve Ohio families well, and help reduce the number of children in foster care. Lawmakers should make quick work of the plan. The sooner it is approved, the sooner more children will find forever homes.