Last week on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed House Bill 2002, known as the “Support for Mothers and Babies Act,” into law. Notably, this law increases the adoption tax credit, allows early intervention services for adopted children, and establishes the West Virginia Mothers and Babies Pregnancy Support Program.
This act has multiple parts, so let’s break it down:
Adoption Tax Credit
The adoption tax credit included in the law is a one time credit of $5,000 (previously $4,000) taken in the year of adoption of each nonfamily child under 18 years old. The credit may be taken over a period of three years if desired. The bill defines nonfamily adoption as the adoption of a child by a taxpayer who is not the father, mother, or stepparent of the child.
Early Intervention Services for Adopted Children
Early intervention services for adopted children allow any child adopted after July 1, 2023, and whose adoptive parent(s) are West Virginia residents to be eligible for early intervention services, including but not limited to:
- Right From the Start — free home visitation services by a registered nurse or licensed social worker for pregnant mothers and their children up to 1-year-old
- Drug Free Moms and Babies — prevention, early intervention, addiction treatment, and recovery support for pregnant and postpartum women struggling with substance abuse
- Birth to Three — a free system of services and support for children under age three who are at risk of or have a developmental delay
West Virginia Mothers and Babies Pregnancy Support Program
The West Virginia Mothers and Babies Pregnancy Support Program is a new program established under the Bureau for Public Health and allows pregnancy help organizations to receive state funding. “Pregnancy help organization” is defined in the act as “an organization that seeks to provide a range of services to pregnant women” it includes but is not limited to “organizations traditionally known as “crisis pregnancy organizations,” maternity homes, adoption agencies, and social services agencies that provide material support and other assistance to pregnant women.” The act stipulates that such organizations “do not perform, prescribe, refer for or encourage abortion, as defined above, nor do they affiliate with any organization that performs, prescribes, refers for, or encourages abortion.” This program has been allocated $1 million in funding for its first year.
This law is a win for pregnant women, adopted children, and their families, and hopefully, it will inspire other states to follow suit. Remember West Virginia the next time someone says pro-lifers don’t care about babies after birth.
Chemical engineer turned stay-at-home mom, Jackie lives with her husband, and two children in the Mid-Atlantic countryside. Her passion for science and education informs and propels her defense of prenatal life.