|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1999.09.24:HHS Awards First Adoption Bonuses
Friday, Sept. 24, 1999
HHS AWARDS FIRST ADOPTION BONUSES
Where Does All The Money Go....
HHS today announced the first award of $20 million in adoption bonuses to 35 states that have increased the number of children adopted from public foster care. The bonuses were proposed by the Clinton Administration in its Adoption 2002 initiative and were included in the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. The awards were announced at the White House with President and Mrs. Clinton.
HHS reported 36,000 foster care children were adopted in fiscal year 1998, an increase from 31,000 in 1997 and 28,000 in 1996. These are the first significant increases in adoption since the national foster care program was established nearly 20 years ago.
"Since the President launched the Adoption 2002 initiative, our vision and our partnership with states has resulted in a tremendous effort to help more children get permanent homes," said Secretary Shalala. "We are well on the way to meeting the President's goal of doubling the number of children adopted from foster care by the year 2002."
In the Adoption 2002 proposal, the Administration introduced the first-ever financial incentive to states to increase adoptions of children waiting in the foster care system. The bonuses - up to $4,000 per child and $6,000 for each child with special needs -- are awarded to states that exceed the number of children adopted compared to the previous year. In this first award of bonuses, the 1998 numbers were compared to an average of the previous three years.
The Secretary also announced $5.5 million in new awards under the Adoption Opportunities program, which funds grants to public and private organizations to eliminate barriers to adoption, particularly for children with special needs. This year's awards will support innovations for increasing adoptions of minority children, targeted field-initiated research and service demonstrations, support for improving the implementation of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC), and awards for collaborative planning to increase inter-jurisdictional adoptions. The Department also sent the President a progress report showing that the strategy employed by the Administration to reform the public child welfare system and increase adoptions is working.
The President signed the Adoption and Safe Families Act in 1997, reforming the nation's child welfare system and making it clear that the safety and well being of children must be the paramount concerns of state child welfare services. This landmark bipartisan legislation was based in large part on the recommendations of the Clinton Administration's Adoption 2002 report to meet his goals of doubling adoptions and permanent placements by the year 2002 and moving children more quickly from foster care to permanent homes. The Act tightened time frames for making permanent placement decisions for children, and ensured health insurance coverage for all special needs children in subsidized adoptions. Also, it created the bonuses to increase adoptions, and continued funding for services to keep families together when it is appropriate and safe.
"We are entering a new era in adoption where children in foster care can have more hope that a permanent, loving family will take care of them," said Olivia A. Golden, HHS assistant secretary for children and families. "We are very confident that today's landmark success will be surpassed, and the years to come will be marked with more adopted children and rewards to states."
The Clinton Administration has built a track record of accomplishments to increase adoptions and improve the safety and well being of children. President Clinton signed into law new tax credits for families to help with the costs of adoption. HHS has granted waivers to 19 states and the District of Columbia giving them more flexibility in tailoring services to meet the needs of children and families, including promoting adoption. The administration supported and is implementing new laws that prohibit ethnic and racial barriers to adoption. Recently, the President directed HHS to develop a plan to expand the use of the Internet to recruit more adoptive families with better information on the thousands of children legally free for adoption.
The list of states and their bonuses follows.
Innovations for Increasing Adoptions of Minority Children ($250,000 each)
Westside Children's Center, Culver City, CA
Research and Service Demonstrations ($250,000 each)
PACT: An Adoption Alliance, San Francisco, CA
Improving Implementation of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children ($300,000)
American Public Human Service Association, Washington, DC
Collaborative Planning to Increase Inter-jurisdictional Adoptions ($100,000 each)
Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Juneau, AK