Treasurer Sprague Announces “Family Forward” Initiative
In conjunction with National Adoption Month, Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague today unveiled the Family Forward initiative, which aims to ease the financial burden placed on families navigating the adoption process. The announcement came as part of a Statehouse press conference that included State Rep. Jon Cross (R – Kenton), who plans on introducing legislation to establish the program.
“Across Ohio, there are families wishing to open their hearts and homes through adoption,” said Treasurer Sprague. “But the financial barriers they face are daunting and enough to deter even the most compassionate of prospective parents. Through Family Forward, we hope to chip away at these financial stressors and provide families with much needed relief.”
Today in Ohio, the rate of children entering foster care sits at an historic high. According to the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, as many as 19,000 children could be in the state’s foster care system by next year. This comes at a time when families navigating the adoption process face costs ranging from $10,000 to more than $50,000.
“It’s a tremendous honor to sponsor and champion legislation that can remove financial barriers to the adoption process through the Treasurer’s Family Forward initiative,” said Representative Cross. “The adoption process should be a celebration of life, love, and family, and this bill can help Ohioans secure funding needed to start the adoption process.”
The Family Forward proposal will provide financial relief to prospective parents through a linked deposit loan program administered by the Ohio Treasurer’s office. Under the plan, 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.
“Choosing Hope Adoptions is dedicated to helping families successfully navigate the adoption journey,” said Angela Boblitt, Executive Director of Choosing Hope Adoptions. “That is why we are proud to support Family Forward, legislation that will help ease the financial burdens families face during the adoption process. Access to these funds will allow more Ohio adoptive families to lead with a ‘yes’ for the at-risk children in our state.”
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.
Family Forward’s reduced interest rate will mirror similar rates made possible through the Ohio Treasurer’s existing linked deposit loan programs (Ag-LINK, ECO-Link, GrowNOW, ReEnergize Ohio).