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The holiday season sees a deluge of requests for charitable giving at a time when family budgets are often tight. But there is a painless way to help children in foster care.

The Arizona Foster Care Tax Credit reduces your state income tax obligation one dollar for every dollar you give to Aid to Adoption of Special Kids (AASK) or other qualifying Arizona foster care organizations. That means when you give AASK $100 now, you will get that $100 back in the form of a lower state income tax bill. The tax credit limits are $500 for individuals and $1,000 for a couple filing a joint return.

AASK uses these gifts to strengthen the bonds between siblings who are separated in the foster care system. Sibling relationships are among the most important we have in life. But children in foster care are often separated from their brothers and sisters with no guarantee of regular visits.

Donations also support the AASK Mentoring program that matches committed adults with children in group homes and shelters.

“Children and teens in foster care who live in a group home often endure a chaotic and transient way of life,” said Ron Adelson, CEO of AASK. “A mentor is often the only consistent, caring adult in their lives.”

Research shows that children and youth who have a mentor in their lives do better in school and have stronger relationships with parents, teachers and peers.

Positive relationships — with a sibling, a mentor, a foster parent, an adoptive parent — change the biology of the brain, regulate the brain’s stress response system and promote healthy development in children, Adelson added.

“Relationships matter,” Adelson said. “The Arizona foster care tax credit helps AASK build positive relationships for children in foster care.”

For more information on children eligible for adoption, call Aid to Adoption of Special Kids at 602.930.4900, or visit aask-az.org.

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