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September 24, 1999

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PRESIDENT CLINTON:
HELPING STATES INCREASE ADOPTION RATES

"We have new evidence that our efforts are bearing fruit: the first significant increase in adoptions since the National Foster Care Program was created almost 20 years ago. All of us are very proud of what these states have done for some of their most vulnerable citizens."

President Bill Clinton
Friday, September 24, 1999

Today, at the White House, the President and the First Lady announced first-ever bonus awards of $20 million to states that have increased the number of children adopted from the public foster care system The President also awarded $5.5 million in grants to innovative programs that remove barriers to adoption, and unveiled a national progress report that documents the success of the Administration's strategy on adoption. The President and the First Lady urged Congress to provide new support for young people as they make the transition from foster care to independence.

Increasing Adoptions with Incentive Awards. President Clinton released $20 million in bonus awards to 35 states that in 1998 had exceeded their average adoption rate from 1995-1997. These awards the first-ever financial incentive for states to increase adoptions of children from the foster care system were first proposed by the President's Adoption 2002 initiative and included in the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997.

Reducing Barriers to Adoption through Grants. The President announced $5.5 million in new awards to public and private organizations to eliminate barriers to adoption, particularly for children with special needs. This year's grants reward a variety of initiatives, including efforts to increase adoptions of minority children.

Report Shows Clinton Administration Strategy Is Working. A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services shows that from 1996 to 1998, the number of adoptions nationwide rose 29 percent from 28,000 to 36,000 and is on a pace to meet the President's goal of 56,000 adoptions in 2002. This is the first significant increase in adoptions since the national foster care program was established nearly 20 years ago. Since taking office, President Clinton has championed efforts to make foster care work better, including:

  • Reforming the child welfare system through the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which expedites permanent placement for children, ensures health coverage for children with special needs, and creates the incentive awards released today;
  • Making adoption more affordable and accessible by providing tax credits to families adopting children and giving workers job-protected leave to care for their newly adopted children;
  • Giving states more flexibility and support by allowing them to test innovative strategies for improving child welfare systems, and by supporting local initiatives to promote adoption and provide post-adoptive services;
  • Removing geographic barriers to adoption by using the Internet to more quickly link children in foster care to possible adoptive families; and
  • Removing racial and ethnic barriers to adoption through provisions in the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996

Urging Congress to Take the next Step. Under the current system, federal financial assistance for young people in foster care ends just as they are making the critical transition to independence. The President and the First Lady urged the Senate to follow the lead of the House and pass the Chafee-Rockefeller bill that helps vulnerable young people leaving foster care to secure health care, life skills training, and educational opportunities.


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September 1999

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September 30, 1999: Public Education

September 30, 1999: Progress for Income and Poverty