November is National Adoption Month, which presents a great opportunity to place a renewed focus on strengthening families around Ohio.
Across our state, there are thousands of families who dream of one day opening their hearts and homes through adoption. But while adoption has long been a wonderful way for prospective parents to grow their families, the ever-rising costs associated with its actual process far too often deters people from pursuing it. In fact, Ohioans navigating the adoption process can face costs ranging from $10,000 to upwards of $50,000.
This all comes as families are feeling the strain of rising costs in virtually every aspect of our lives. Record inflation has caused Ohioans to tighten their budgets and interest rates have risen to their highest level since 2008. Though federal and state tax credits can eventually help make adoption expenses more manageable, many prospective parents still need a loan to cover upfront costs.
However, the good news is that the Ohio Treasurer’s Office stands ready to help alleviate some of these financial stressors.
Last year, we launched the Family Forward program, which is designed to help ease the skyrocketing financial burden that prospective parents face when seeking to adopt a child. Through the program, prospective parents may be eligible for reduced interest loans for qualified adoption expenses up to $50,000. Qualified expenses can include adoption agency expenses, court expenses and fees, expenses incurred on behalf of the birth mother, health and psychological exam fees, home studies, and travel expenses.
Through Family Forward, prospective parents apply for a loan with an eligible lending institution and once approved, the Ohio Treasurer’s Office deposits funds with the lending institution at a below-market rate. The lending institution then passes the interest savings on to the borrower, resulting in a reduced interest rate on the loan.
Family Forward helps to chip away at the financial barriers associated with adoption, allowing more families to welcome children into loving and caring forever homes. Additional information about Family Forward, including a list of participating lending institutions, can be found on our website at www.ohiotreasurer.gov/familyforward.
Robert Sprague is Ohio treasurer.