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Bill provides tax break for Oklahoma foster parents

Posted at 5:23 PM, Mar 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-13 20:15:42-04

SKIATOOK, Okla. — The Department of Human Services is looking for homes for 8,000 children in Oklahoma.

The problem is the cost of becoming a foster parent can get expensive.

Heath Tucker and his wife, Randi, have five children. Three are biological and two they fostered and eventually adopted.

“When we ended up adopting our kids, we celebrated but at the same time it was a time of sadness because a mom and a dad have lost their child forever,” said Tucker.

He said even though becoming a foster parent is worth it, it can be expensive for some.

Legislation like Senate Bill 893 would help.

The bill will give foster parents a tax break of $5,000 if they worked with a child-placing agency and cared for a child at least 6 months.

It not only would provide financial relief but also give more potential foster parents a chance to open their homes.

DHS’ goal is to recruit more than 900 new approved foster homes, but a problem they run into is finding homes for teenagers, large sibling groups, and children with health or special needs.

"The two girls we adopted are biological siblings, so we fall underneath that category," Tucker said. "The oldest girl we adopted through foster care has extreme medical needs, extreme special needs.”

The first few years, Tucker said they were driving from western Oklahoma to Oklahoma City, averaging 13 appointments a month.

“So, it is a financial burden at times when the needs are great, but no family that does foster care does it for the money," Tucker said. “Jesus has adopted us into his family and the way that we can best reflect his love and show his love to a world that’s hurting is through adoption.”

The measure passed unanimously through the Senate and now goes to the House for further consideration.

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