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Ohio families who adopt can now apply for up to $20,000 in state financial assistance

The Ohio Adoption Grant Program website.
The Ohio Adoption Grant Program website.

Ohioans adopting children can now apply for the Ohio Adoption Grant Program worth up to $20,000.

“For adoptive families, this is really a gamechanger because there are a lot of legal costs and other costs associated with adoption,” Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Director Matt Damschroder said.

Governor Mike DeWine signed the grant program into law in January. The website to apply went live Friday morning.

“Every child deserves a safe, permanent, loving home,” DeWine said in a statement. “Whether you’re adopting from the foster care system, or through private adoption, the Ohio Adoption Grant will help offset the cost of growing your family.”

Families who adopt a child under 18 years old, aside from stepparents, are eligible for $10,000. Those who adopted a child they fostered are eligible for $15,000, and parents who adopt a child with special needs are eligible for $20,000.

“There might be some individuals who would say, ‘I would love to adopt a child. We have love in our hearts, love in our family, but that financial piece is a barrier to do it,’” Damschroder said. “I think it really takes some of those financial barriers away.”

Families with adoptions finalized on or after January 1 this year are eligible for the grant.

“We’re really wanting to move the needle toward permanency for every child in Ohio who is eligible for adoption and wants to be adopted,” Damschroder said.

The grant replaces a tax credit previously intended to help with adoption costs. According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the tax credit value maxed out at $10,000 worth of reimbursement that was based on expenses for adoptive parents.

“Sometimes that would take years to earn the credit back and certainly the credit takes place well after the expenses are occurred,” Damschroder said.

Damschroder and his wife fostered and adopted their two children.

“I can say from first-hand experience that there are financial costs that the family incurs and so having a little bit of financial existence is very important,” Damschroder said.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said it received 16 applications before noon Friday.

Gabriel Kramer is a reporter/producer and the host of “NewsDepth,” Ideastream Public Media's news show for kids.