Annually, approximately 700 teenagers in Georgia undergo the challenging process of aging out of the foster care system. Tragically, some among them fall into homelessness, become victims of human trafficking, or veer towards criminal activities. A recently enacted statute, known as the Fostering Success Act, has paved the way for taxpayers to play a pivotal role in preventing such distressing outcomes by availing dollar-for-dollar income tax credits.
With unanimous support from lawmakers, taxpayers are now eligible to allocate a cumulative amount of up to $20 million to offer assistance to those who have aged out of the foster care system. Carr recounted the story of Aaron, an 18-year-old who initially seemed poised for a promising future. Having secured his GED, he left foster care with financial support for pursuing higher education.
Tax Credit for Adolescent Independence: Supporting the Transition After Foster Care
Startling statistics underscore the significant hurdles that young individuals emancipating from the foster care system confront as they transition into adulthood. A concerning 81% of young men who exit the foster care system find themselves entangled within the criminal justice system at some point, illustrating the systemic barriers they encounter.
Similarly, 71% of young women experience the life-altering event of pregnancy within a mere year of leaving the system, underlining the need for comprehensive support mechanisms during this critical phase of their lives. Alarmingly, an overwhelming 97% of these youths inevitably grapple with the harsh realities of poverty, further emphasizing the pressing necessity for effective interventions.
In response to these distressing trends, Georgia’s Foster Care Act has emerged as a beacon of hope, endeavoring to address these multifaceted challenges head-on. By extending crucial assistance encompassing housing, sustenance, transportation, and medical requirements, this initiative aims to provide a robust support network for those navigating the precarious path of transitioning from foster care to independent adulthood.
Central to the program’s success is the engagement of taxpayers who opt to participate by applying for state income tax credits. By channeling these tax credits towards the Foster Care Act, individuals and corporations alike have the unique opportunity to play a pivotal role in ameliorating the lives of these young adults. Notably, the program’s efficacy is closely linked to the achievement of its $20 million funding target, which is instrumental in ensuring the program’s reach and impact.
Recognizing the significance of financial backing to realize its goals, the state of Georgia has taken a decisive step by eliminating the cap on allowable tax credits for both individual taxpayers and corporations. By adopting this approach, the state aims to galvanize widespread participation and mobilize resources to create a comprehensive safety net for these vulnerable young adults.
In summation, Georgia’s Foster Care Act stands as a testament to the state’s commitment to fostering positive outcomes for those transitioning from foster care. By offering tangible support in the realms of housing, nutrition, transportation, and healthcare, coupled with the active involvement of taxpayers through income tax credits, the program endeavors to reverse the unsettling trends and offer a brighter trajectory for these youths.
Through the collective effort of individuals, corporations, and the state, the program strives to create a society where these young adults can thrive, breaking free from the cycle of incarceration, early parenthood, and poverty that has plagued them for far too long.