JEFFERSON CITY, MO (STL.News) Governor Mike Parson during a ceremony at the State Capitol, Governor Mike Parson signed HB 429 and HB 430 into law, which both support Missouri adoptive families and children in foster care.
“Every child deserves a family to provide love, support, and a strong foundation,” Governor Parson said. “Missourians who take on this role as foster and adoptive parents are invaluable to the children of our state, and I am extremely pleased to sign these bills today.”
“I want to thank Representative Kelly, Speaker Vescovo, Senator Koenig, and Senator Rehder for their work to support Missouri’s adoptive and foster families, improve the adoption process, and most importantly help foster children reach the permanency they deserve,” Governor Parson continued.
HB 429 establishes a clearer path to permanency for foster children by clarifying what constitutes an abandoned child, creating a definite timeline for courts in certain circumstances, and removing barriers for adoptive families in consent adoption cases. Specifically, the legislation allows the Children’s Division or juvenile officer to seek termination of parental rights when a child less than two years old has been abandoned for 60 days or a child over two years old has been abandoned for six months.
The Children’s Division or Juvenile Officer may also seek termination of parental rights when a child has been in foster care for 15 of 22 months, which will allow courts to move cases along more quickly and prevent children from getting stuck in foster care. Additionally, HB 429 removes the requirement for prospective adoptive parents to pay the legal fees of a birth parent in consent adoption proceedings while maintaining the court’s ability to appoint an attorney to the birth parent as necessary.
HB 429 and HB 430 both make several statutory changes to make the adoption process more accessible, including the expansion of an existing adoption tax credit to include the adoption of any child. HB 430 also extends tax credits for maternity homes and adds rape crisis centers to the shelters to which individuals may donate in order to receive a tax credit.
Earlier today, Governor Parson also signed SB 2 into law, which allows part-time jobs to qualify for Missouri Works Military Project benefits.