Gov. signs legislation to assist children - Word&Way

Gov. signs legislation to assist children

Springfield — Gov. Matt Blunt signed legislation June 12 to strengthen the state's commitment to a brighter future for some of Missouri's most vulnerable children.

"It is our responsibility to provide safe and nurturing environments for abused and neglected children," Blunt said. "The legislation I signed today ensures residential treatment centers have access to a wide variety of tools as they build partnerships and seek donations to help provide exceptional care and opportunities for children in need."

Senate Bill 614, sponsored by Sen. Bill Stouffer, furthers state assistance for residential care providers such as Missouri Baptist Children's Home.

The legislation creates the Residential Treatment Agency Tax Credit Act. The act allows qualified residential providers to apply for tax credits that they can then pass on to private businesses or individuals in exchange for donations.

The law limits the credit available to each provider to 40 percent of funding received from the Department of Social Services in the preceding 12 months and allows those who donate to these providers to receive a tax credit for up to 50 percent of their donation.

"This is a program we have been working on for several years," said Raymond R. "Bob" Kenison, president of Missouri Baptist Children's Home.

"We appreciate the work of many of our legislative friends like Sen. Bill Stouffer, Sen. John Loudon and Rep. Jack Jackson. This legislation will enable our donors to direct their state tax dollars to provide care for the most vulnerable children in our state," Kenison said.

A year ago, the governor and General Assembly increased funding for residential care providers by $4.2 million. This year's budget includes an additional $6.4 million increase.

But even with these increases, the cost of providing care far exceeds the payments the state makes to private providers, according to a children's home news release.

"We know that many of our private residential child care facilities do tremendous work," said Stouffer. "The state does not fund the total cost of care for children who are in the custody of the state, so I was happy to sponsor this bill that will be another tool in the toolbox used to fund what agencies like Missouri Baptist Children's Home does. It rewards those who do good work."

This tax credit provisions of this act are applicable for financial gifts made to qualifying residential childcare providers after Jan. 1, 2007. For more information about other available tax credits at Missouri Baptist Children's Home, call 1-800-264-6224. (06-29-06)