WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has introduced two amendments to the health insurance reform bill to provide assistance to pregnant and parenting teens and women and to increase the adoption tax credit to help families who wish to adopt.
“Many teens and women who face an unplanned pregnancy do so with little or no support,” said Senator Casey. “The Support for Pregnant and Parenting Teens and Women Amendment that I have introduced today offer teens and young women the support they need to finish their educations and provide for their children; it will also help pregnant women who are victims of domestic violence and other types of violence. The Adoption Tax Credit Amendment will support and encourage adoption and also assist families with some of its costs.”
Parenthood is the leading cause of dropping out of school for teenage girls. Only 40% of mothers who have a child before age 18 ever graduate from high school. Less than two percent of mothers who have children before age 18 earn a college degree by age 30, compared to nine percent of women who give birth at age 20 or 21 and 25% of all women over the age of 25.
Senator Casey’s amendment on Pregnant and Parenting Teens and Women, which is cosponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), would provide:
• Funding for colleges to provide pregnancy and parenting resources located on campus or within the local community, and funding to improve such resources;
• Funding for programs that help pregnant or parenting teens stay in or complete high school and prepare for college or vocational education by providing resources and assistance;
• Assistance to States in providing intervention services, accompaniment, and supportive social services for pregnant victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking; and
• Additional resources for public awareness and outreach so that pregnant and parenting teens and women are aware of services available to them.
At the same time, families hoping to adopt a child face many hurdles. One of the biggest is cost. Domestic adoptions can cost up to $15,000, and international adoptions can easily reach $20,000 to $30,000. In 2001, Congress created tax credits to help families offset the high cost of adoption. These provisions expire December 31, 2010.
Senator Casey’s adoption tax credit amendment extends the existing credit through December 31, 2019, increases it from $10,000 to $15,000 and makes it refundable. Raising the limit will help families cover more of the cost of adoption.