Adopting a Foster Child in South Carolina

Adopting a Foster Child in South Carolina

Adopting a foster child comes with a unique set of challenges that are not seen with foreign, infant, and domestic adoptions. However, fostering a child can be a way to “test the waters” before making the permanent and irrevocable decision to adopt. There are currently hundreds of children in South Carolina’s foster care system hoping to be adopted into a loving home. This post covers some of the issues and topics pertinent to adopting a foster child in South Carolina.

Foster To Adopt Program

The primary mission and goal of the foster care system are always to keep children safe until it is possible to reunite them with their parents. For this reason, foster care placements are usually temporary. When reunification with parents is not feasible, the biological parent’s rights are terminated and the child becomes available for adoption. It is not unusual for a child to oscillate in and out of foster care for years before eventually being placed for adoption.

Foster parents are notified when a child becomes available for adoption, but their adoption applications are not given priority or expedited status. However, the process of adopting a foster child that already lives with you is usually streamlined since many steps in the adoption process are already completed during the foster care placement.

Adoption Tax Credit

The IRS offers a federal tax credit for qualified expenses paid to adopt a child. If you make less than $240,000 a year, you can receive a credit for some of the out-of-pocket adoption costs. Some of the qualifying expenses include:

  • adoption fees
  • attorney fees
  • court costs
  • travel expenses

There is a maximum credit of $13,460 per child, and the credit cannot exceed your tax liability for that year. However, you can carry over the remaining tax credit for up to five years after the adoption is finalized. The federal tax credit only covers the adoption of an “eligible child,” which includes most children in the foster care system (unless he or she is a relative or step-child).

Special Needs Adoptions In South Carolina

In adoption terms, “special needs” does not carry the same meaning that it does in the medical or educational fields. Adoption cases that are designated “special needs” by the state are typically those which have risk factors that could make them difficult to place. South Carolina considers the following adoption cases to be special needs:

  • sibling groups of two or more
  • children with physical, intellectual, or emotional disabilities
  • children who are biracial or mixed race
  • children aged six years and older

The adoption of a child that has been determined by the state to be a special needs case will usually qualify for the full $13,460 federal tax credit. South Carolina offers additional adoption assistance and subsidy programs for parents who choose to adopt a special needs child from foster care.

South Carolina Foster Child Adoption Lawyers

State law requires adoptive parents to acquire legal representation by an attorney at the time of legal finalization of the adoption. You may wish to obtain a lawyer at the outset of the adoption process to assist you with any complications that may arise. The Mt. Pleasant adoption attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC can help you every step of the way. Contact our office today at (843) 216-8860.