HB61 was approved by the Governor on June 9, 2020 and is set to take effect on July 1, 2020. This extends the existing state employee adoption benefits to veterans and service members.
The bill summary follows: “The bill allows certain military veterans and service members who adopt a child through the state’s child welfare system to receive a monetary benefit of $10,000 per child if the child has special needs, or $5,000 per child if the child does not, through the State Employee Adoption Benefit Program. Currently, such monetary benefits are available to employees of state agencies, public schools, charter schools, and the Florida Virtual School. The bill also clarifies, for purposes of qualifying for the benefit, that an employee of a state agency may include other-personal-services employees who have been employed full-time or part-time by a state agency for at least one year.”
It is important to know that retroactive application for the monetary benefit provided under this statute is allowable, if the requisite conditions are met, for a qualified employee of a charter school or the Florida Virtual School if the adoption of the child within the child welfare system pursuant to chapter 63 occurred on or after July 1, 2015. Similarly, retroactive application for the monetary benefit provided under this statute is allowable, if the requisite conditions are met, for a veteran or service member who is domiciled in this state and adopts a child within the child welfare system pursuant to chapter 63 occurred on or after July 1, 2020.
In order to obtain the benefit, an application must be made. For a qualifying adoptive employee, the application must be made to the agency head or school director. For a veteran or service member, the application must be made to the department. The applications must be made on the form approved by the department, and a certified copy of the adoption final judgment, naming the applicant as an adoptive parent, must be included.
In order to receive the monetary benefit, the veteran or service member must be recognized as a vendor with the state, and the qualified adoptive employee shall receive the benefit through the appropriate payroll systems. This statute does not preclude a qualifying adoptive employee, veteran or service member from receiving adoption assistance or other financial incentives for the adoption of the child(ren). This monetary benefit is approved on a “first-come, first-serve basis.”
If you are considering adoption in Florida, Heart of Adoptions, Inc would be happy to help guide you through your journey. Over the years, we’ve helped thousands of families and parents grow their family through adoption in Florida (and around the country), and would love to have you join our family. If interested, give us a call at 800-GO-ADOPT or download our free adoption information packet.