Reforms for foster care and adoption included in budget deal

I worked to ensure that our budget includes help for kids in state care and the foster parents who provide them the stable and loving environment they need.  The budget provides expanded respite care for foster parents so that they can take a break from their 24/7 responsibilities and attend to other needs.

The budget also included my new incentives for adoption, including an increase on the cap for adoption-support maintenance payments for children 5 years or older—up to 95 percent of the foster-care maintenance payment for children aged 14 to 18.  At the same time, the state expands eligibility for the College Bound Scholarship Program to include foster youth and other children adopted between the ages of 14 and 18.

These improvements were needed for the sake of the kids first and foremost and were simply the right thing to do. They also make financial sense.  Incentivizing adoption, finding kids permanent homes and giving kids a shot at higher education and a brighter future will lead to better outcomes that save the state money in the long run.