On Monday, the Senate Family and Children Services Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill (SB) 66, authored by State Senator David Niezgodski (D-South Bend). Sen. Niezgodski’s bill would be a step in the right direction for Indiana’s foster children by guaranteeing a minimum amount of subsidy funds for their adoptive families. These families who adopt special needs children would be guaranteed at least 50 percent of the subsidy they had received for fostering those children.
“Every year, I hear stories of families who struggle to care for their adoptive kids because of the lack of subsidy support provided to them,” Sen. Niezgodski said. “Compassionate families across the state are having to fight months-long legal battles to be able to keep the appropriate subsidies to care for their children. I believe we must do everything possible to provide for our most vulnerable children with loving, safe and secure homes. This starts with making sure that adoptive families consistently have the resources they need to support these kids.”
This is the third, consecutive year that Sen. Niezgodski has offered this adoption legislation. In 2019, the Senate Family and Children Services Committee also unanimously approved the legislation, but the bill could not get a hearing in Senate Appropriations. However, the language to guarantee adoption subsidies was added to that year’s state budget, only to be removed in the final days of session.
“Adoptive families cannot care for these children on just one or two dollars a day,” Sen. Niezgodski said. “This is what I keep hearing from families, and it’s making it hard to convince Hoosiers to want to adopt if they know they may not get the resources to do so. I’m thankful, though, that there is support for this legislation on both sides of the aisle. I also extend my gratitude to Sen. Jon Ford for co-authoring this bill with me and lending his voice to find support in the Republican caucus. This will be the year to help the most vulnerable among us!”
With the unanimous vote in committee, SB 66 is now referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee to await a fiscal hearing.