An important provision in the House Committee version of the CTC allows some flexibility for both birth parents and foster parents. A parent can still receive the CTC for temporary absences “under the facts and circumstances, it is reasonable to assume that the individual will return to reside at the place of abode.” There is also the possibility a foster and relative caregiver could benefit according to conditions. Currently, foster parents are eligible for the CTC (as they were for a child deduction), but it has been and continues to be (under the current CTC) a challenge due to the requirement that the caregiver has the child’s Social Security number, something that is not always available due to concerns about protecting a child’s identity and prevention of future fraud. The new credit may allow for some other options in regard to qualifying for the CTC in these placements. Current tax law allows a family that is adopting a child to access the CTC even if they do not have the child’s Social Security number by applying for an ATIN or “adoption taxpayer identification number.”
All of these actions are subject to change as this process evolves; that is why it will be necessary for CWLA and its members to continue to press for these needs.
There is also the added pressure by some of wanting to pare down the size of the package even if it is all paid for. It becomes critical to focus on what could be lost if these members fail to focus on the critical improvements being sought. For child welfare, this is especially critical because the comprehensiveness of this reconciliation could very well mean more for families than any recent changes enacted through CAPTA, Title IV-E, Title IV-B, and Chafee programs.