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Guest column/Working to help more families in Ohio take shape

Adoption is a wonderful way for many people to start or grow their families.

When prospective parents decide to adopt, they start down a path that will change their lives, and the life of a child, forever.

Today in Ohio, prospective parents navigating the private adoption process can face costs ranging from $10,000 to more than $50,000. Unfortunately, these financial barriers often deter even the most compassionate prospective parents wishing to open their hearts and homes.

Recently, I partnered with state Rep. Jon Cross, R-Kenton, to introduce legislation to establish the Family Forward program. With Family Forward, which would be administered by the Ohio Treasurer’s office, 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.

Qualified expenses include (but are not limited to) adoption agency expenses, court expenses and fees, expenses incurred on behalf of the birth mother, health and psychological examination fees, home studies and travel expenses when necessary for prospective parents.

Once implemented, Family Forward will be administered through a link deposit model. Loan applicants would work with an eligible lending institution to apply for a loan through Family Forward. Once the loan is approved, the treasurer’s office deposits funds with the lending institution at a below- market rate. The lending institution then passes the interest savings on to the borrowers via a reduced interest rate on their loan.

Family Forward’s reduced interest rate will mirror similar rates already made possible through our office’s other linked deposit programs, which have recently hovered between 1 percent and 3 percent.

Not only will the lower interest rate result in real savings for families, Family Forward loans will help them meet and manage immediate adoption costs prior to receiving the federal and state tax credits.

Ultimately, Family Forward will help ensure that cost doesn’t stand in the way of the rewarding and fulfilling act of adoption.

By chipping away at the financial barriers that often inhibit adoption, we can help families take shape and assist in welcoming children into loving forever homes.

(Sprague is the Ohio treasurer.)

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