By Senator Patty Ritchie
Thanksgiving is the time of year when families come together to enjoy a special meal and most importantly, each other’s company.
It is when people can show how grateful they are for all of life’s blessings, especially our friends and families.
Unfortunately, here in the United States, far too many children are still waiting for their forever family to come along.
More than 117,000 children are in foster care, hoping to find a permanent, loving family.
New York State alone has 23,000 children in foster care and the average child spends nearly five years waiting to be adopted.
In fact, there are 20,000 children a year who age out of foster care without finding a family.
The good news is that awareness of these children, and their need for loving families, continues to grow.
The Saturday before Thanksgiving is now known as “National Adoption Day.”
Not only does this special day bring attention to adoption, but across the country – including here in our region – there are special events held on “National Adoption Day” to finalize adoptions.
It has led to nearly 60,000 children realizing their dreams and finding their forever homes.
This day is just one way we can help our children, our most precious resource, find homes that are loving and help them reach their fullest potential.
New York State has taken steps to make these connections, but more can be done, especially for those children with special needs.
Currently, I sponsor a measure that would help increase the number of special needs adoptions by providing adopting parents with a $10,000 annual tax deduction.
The IRS allows adoptive parents to claim tax credits and some deductions for adoption-related expenses, and the tax benefits are more generous for special needs adoption.
Today, more than a dozen other states provide additional tax credits and deductions beyond the IRS benefits to encourage adoptions, including several with special tax incentives for special needs children.
I plan to continue to advocate for the passage of this bill in an effort to help more of our state’s special needs children who are hoping to be adopted find loving homes.
For more information on “National Adoption Day” and how you can make a difference in the life of a child, I encourage you to visit my website, www.ritchie.nysenate.gov.