Georgia Legislation Information

2021 Georgia Legislation Update

This recent Legislation season included several bills that affect the child welfare system and, specifically, foster care. We are pleased with these changes as they will make it easier for foster parents to care for the children placed in their homes while making the best interest of the child the priority. Below are highlights and how they impact FaithBridge foster parents.

Georgia House Bill 114
Primary Sponsor Representative Bert Reeves
Effective 7/1/2021

  • Increases the current tax credit for adoption of a foster child from $2,000 to $6,000 per foster child for the first five years of adoption
  • Begins the year each adoption is finalized
  • Applicable for any adoptions from foster care that have taken place on or after July 1, 2021

Implication for FaithBridge

  • Eases a portion of the financial burden foster parents experience as they transition to an adoptive home and see a decrease in access to state and national resources and funding
  • Ensures ability to provide a seamless continuum of care for children and youth as they meet the therapeutic, medical and general needs of a child
  • Our foster parents who adopt from foster care will experience an easier transition to permanency
  • Could result in an increase in FaithBridge adoptions from foster care

Georgia Senate Bill 107
Primary Sponsor Senator Brian Strickland
Effective 7/1/2021

  • Qualifying foster and adopted students can enroll tuition- and fee-free in GA state colleges and technical schools
  • Provides an opportunity for education without the financial burden or student loans
  • Qualifying students are eligible for 10 years or until the student achieves a diploma, certificate, or baccalaureate degree

Implication for FaithBridge

  • Opportunity for FaithBridge to provide services for foster parents and the teens in their care to help navigate the paperwork and processes to access this benefit
  • A greater incentive for young people in foster care to graduate high school and pursue higher education
  • A loan-free education gives a greater chance of success for young people post-college or technical school

Georgia House Bill 154
Primary Sponsor Representative Bert Reeves
Effective Date 7/1/2021

  • Lowers the age at which an individual may petition the court to adopt a child from age 25 to 21
  • Makes it easier for close relatives to adopt children out of foster care
  • Expands the number of adoptive parents available in the state of Georgia

Implication for FaithBridge

Could result in an increase of positive outcomes due to potential increase of family members who petition to adopt

Update on 2020 Georgia Legislation

In order to give enough time for policies and processes to be set, House Bill 855 from the 2020 session was set to start July 1, 2021. This Bill is now active.

House Bill 855

Primary Sponsor: Representative Marcus Wiedower
Effective 7/1/2021

Directs the Georgia State Board of Education to develop rules to automatically initiate assessments of foster care children who enroll in new schools to determine whether exposure to trauma has had or is likely to have an adverse impact on the foster care student’s academics and classroom behavior such that they become eligible for special education and related services. The Board of Education must adopt these rules, regulations and protocols as necessary so that all schools receiving state funding under Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia 2 Annotated can implement this new practice by August 1, 2021.

Implication for FaithBridge

  • This may reduce the challenges foster children have with getting an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan put in place. It could also reduce the effort that foster parents and FaithBridge team members expend to help children get the education supports needed.