Apr 9, 2024 | Press Releases

Nunn Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Incentivize Adoption of Siblings

DES MOINES — U.S. Representative Zach Nunn (IA-03) introduced bipartisan legislation to incentivize the adoption of siblings. The Fight for Siblings Act, which is co-led by U.S. Representative Don Davis (NC-01), will double the federal adoption tax credit for families that adopt siblings.  
“Family is everything to Iowans, and I want to make sure that I’m doing everything in my power to help Iowans who are willing to open their home to disadvantaged children,” said Rep. Nunn. “When we began fostering and ultimately adopted Jayna and Aliya, we knew it was incredibly important to keep them together as sisters. Now, I’m fighting to ensure every sibling in the foster system or awaiting adoption can stay together forever.”  
Nothing is more important than providing children with a safe, loving environment to grow and learn. In April 2023, Rep. Nunn and his wife adopted two sisters into their family. His firsthand experience with the shortcomings of the foster and adoption process is the foundation for his passion to help other children find their forever homes. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, there are 4,144 Iowa children in foster care and 1,004 Iowa children awaiting adoption. 
“It’s important to ensure that low- and middle-income parents have the same opportunities as others when it comes to adopting children,” said Rep. Davis.“Our legislation aims to level the playing field and guarantee equal access to adoption for all families willing to provide caring and loving homes to children.” 
Under federal law, foster care agencies are required to strive to find temporary placements in the same home for foster siblings. When placed together, siblings are ultimately provided with a sense of stability that positively impacts their transition and long-term well-being. “A family should not be discouraged to foster and adopt because of cost,” said Mary Beth O’Neill, President and CEO of Four Oaks. “This legislation will allow more siblings to stay together through the adoption process. This, in turn, will provide consistency and stability for not just the children and families supported by Four Oaks in Iowa, but foster and adoptive families all across the country. We are grateful for Representative Nunn’s Fight for Siblings Act. His advocacy efforts will drive positive outcomes for children throughout the nation.”  
Adoption fees and related expenses are high which makes it difficult to adopt more than one child at a time. According to the HHS, independent adoptions as of June, 2023 range from $25,000 to $45,000. Adoptions from a private agency range from $30,000 to $60,000. These costs can be prohibitive to families seeking to adopt siblings, unintentionally forcing the separation of siblings.  
“When most people think about adoption from foster care, they often envision heartwarming pictures of families proudly standing outside a courthouse with a sign that reads, ‘After X days in foster care, I’ve joined my forever family.’ While these moments are certainly worth celebrating, it’s important to acknowledge that adoption from foster care can also be a bittersweet experience, marked by the loss and trauma that these children have experienced,” said Traci Schermerhorn, President and CEO of Foster Squad. “The Foster SQUAD is committed to supporting foster families as they navigate the next phase of their journey, and we’re excited to get behind the Fight for Siblings Act, which aims to alleviate some of the financial burden on these families so they can focus on providing the love and care that these children need.”  
The bipartisan Fight for Siblings Act would double the federal adoption tax credit for families who adopt two or more siblings within the same fiscal year.  
Rep. Nunn introduced the bipartisan bill at a press conference in Ankeny on Tuesday with representatives from Four Oaks and the Foster Squad. Text of the bill can be found here