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:
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.
President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore