The announcement was made at a Statehouse press conference which included state Rep. Jon Cross, R-Kenton, who plans to introduce legislation to establish the program.
The Family Forward program would provide financial relief to prospective parents through a linked deposit loan program administered by the Ohio treasurer’s office. Under the plan, individuals or families seeking to adopt may be eligible for reduced-interest loans that can be used for qualified adoption expenses up to $50,000.
According to Sprague, the rate of children entering foster care is at a historic high. The Public Children Services Association of Ohio said as many as 19,000 children could be in the state’s foster care system by next year.
“But the financial barriers they face are daunting and enough to deter even the most compassionate of prospective parents. Through Family Forward, we hope to chip away at these financial stressors and provide families with much-needed relief,” Sprague said.
Cross said, “It’s a tremendous honor to sponsor and champion legislation that can remove financial barriers to the adoption process through the treasurer’s Family Forward initiative. The adoption process should be a celebration of life, love, and family, and this bill can help Ohioans secure funding needed to start the adoption process.”
Qualified expenses could include adoption agency expenses, court expenses, expenses incurred on behalf of the birth mother, health and psychological examination fees, home studies, and travel expenses when necessary for prospective parents.
Loan applicants would work with an eligible lending institution to apply for a loan through Family Forward. Once the loan is approved, Sprague’s office would deposit funds with the lending institution at a below-market rate. The lending institution then would pass the interest savings on to the borrowers via a reduced interest rate.