Written by Lisa Johnson
Annually in November, the President of the United States issues a proclamation to announce National Adoption Month. The goal is to raise awareness of the need for adoptive families and to encourage citizens to become involved in the lives of children in foster care.
This year, National Adoption Month focuses on “Promoting and Supporting Sibling Connections“. The theme pays tribute to the unique bond between siblings as it is sometimes the longest relationship people have, typically outlasting parent-child or spousal relationships. Over the last two decades, research has shown the critical nature of sibling bonds and there importance for children’s development and emotional well-being.
The Coast Guard has several programs that support families interested in adoption.
1. Adoption Reimbursement Program: Coast Guard active duty members and reservists on active duty for at least 180 consecutive days are eligible for reimbursement of up to 2,000 dollars per child per year and a maximum of 5,000 dollars in any calendar year, within budget constraints.
In addition, Coast Guard members may be eligible for a tax credit for qualifying expenses related to the adoption. To learn more, contact your tax advisor regarding adoption tax credits. The Coast Guard adoption reimbursement program has more informaiton on their website.
2. Coast Guard Support program or CG SUPRT: May assist Coast Guard personnel and their families with adoption resources. CG SUPRT provides confidential professional counseling, education, and referral services on a range of issues such as personal financial management, health coaching, education and career development, relationships, and legal matters. They can be contacted at 855-CGSUPRT or 855-247-8778.
3. Coast Guard Mutual Assistance for adoption: Coast Guard Mutual Assistance offers two types of assistance directly related to the legal adoption of a child: an interest free loan up to 6,000 dollars for qualified expenses relating to the adoption, and a grant, not to exceed 1,000 dollars, for the cost of a home study fee.
To help promote and support sibling connections in adoption visit the Health and Human Services website. To locate the Work-Life staff at your Health, Safety and Work-Life Regional Practice, dial 800-872-4957. For additional information related to this All Hands Blog, please contact the Office of Work-Life Family Support Services Program Manager, Ms. Lisa Johnson, at HQS-SMB-FamilySupportServices@uscg.mil.