This year’s Indiana General Assembly session included passage of a number of provisions that will help Indiana’s foster children. Foster Success is thrilled that the majority of our legislative agenda is heading to the governor for consideration.
The new state budget was approved overwhelmingly with bipartisan support. The measure, also supported by Governor Eric Holcomb, includes two key items Foster Success championed that will support those who are or have experienced foster care:
- The Foster Care Tax Credit – This provision will encourage private companies and individuals to donate to organizations such as Foster Success. Anyone who makes a donation to a qualifying foster care organization can apply to receive a tax credit of up to $10,000 a year, for 50 percent of the donation starting in 2022.
- Choice Scholarship pathway for students in foster care – Students in foster care will have a new pathway to access the state’s Choice Scholarship program. Students will be able to take 90 percent of their state tuition dollars to a school of their choice or a private school. This will provide increased access and opportunity to attend the school that best meets their educational needs, while also allowing for increased consistency in their education.
Foster Success also supported two bills that have been approved by the General Assembly aimed at increasing support for older foster youth. HEA 1536 provides authority to the Executive Director of the Department of Child Services (DCS) to act quickly to support foster youth when there is a declared state of emergency. House Enrolled Act 1537 makes positive changes for the Commission on Improving the Status of Children (CISC) by expanding its membership to include two youth members who have lived experience with the foster care or justice systems or who have experienced homelessness.
State Senator Andy Zay (R-Huntington) and Representative Martin Carbaugh (R- Fort Wayne) also sent letters to the Legislative Council recommending that a Summer Study Committee look at the issue of the costs of auto insurance for teens in foster care.
It took a lot of hard work and bipartisan support to move these measures forward, and , overall children in foster care will see improvements in their lives as a result of this legislative session.