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PROCLAMATION: National Adoption Month, 2000

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                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                            November 7, 2000

                       NATIONAL ADOPTION MONTH, 2000

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                              A PROCLAMATION

     Families are the cornerstone of our Nation.  Yet, today, tens of
thousands of America?s children are living within our child welfare system,
without the sustained love and care of permanent families.  For many of
these children, often shuttled from one living situation to another,
adoption opens the door to loving parents and permanent homes, where they
can put down roots and learn what it means to be part of a safe, stable
family.  Adoption gives children who have been orphaned, abandoned, or
abused a precious second chance at happiness; a chance to love and be loved
and to reach their full potential in a secure, supportive environment.

     While foster care offers children a safe temporary haven, adoption
allows children to have the permanent homes they deserve.  That is why
increasing the chances of adoption for children in the foster care system
has been one of my Administration's chief goals.  Over the last 8 years, we
have worked with the Congress to craft legislation that makes it easier,
faster, and more affordable for parents to adopt children.  Adoptive
parents -- like all new parents -- can now take time off to care for their
newly adopted children without fear of losing their jobs.  We have ensured
health coverage for adopted children with special needs, barred
discrimination and delays of adoptions on the basis of race or ethnicity,
provided tax cuts to families adopting children, and offered States
financial incentives to move children more rapidly from foster care into
the permanent homes of loving families.

     We are beginning to see dramatic results from these efforts.  Last
year alone, 46,000 foster children were adopted -- an increase of nearly 65
percent since 1996.  All 50 States, as well as the District of Columbia and
Puerto Rico, have succeeded in increasing the number of children adopted
from their child welfare systems.  This puts us well on the way to meeting
my goal of doubling the annual number of adoptions from 28,000 in 1996 to
56,000 in 2002.

     Despite our efforts, nearly 20,000 18-year-olds still leave foster
care each year without the emotional, social, and financial support that
adoptive families provide.  To help them make the challenging transition to
successful, independent adulthood, I signed the Foster Care Independence
Act last year.  This legislation provides young people who are growing too
old for the foster care system with better educational oppor-tunities and
access to health care, training, housing assistance, counseling, and other

     As we observe National Adoption Month, we should take pride in our
progress, but realize that there is more work to be done.  Let us recommit
ourselves to giving our Nation's most vulnerable children what every child
deserves and needs -- a safe, stable home and a loving family.  And let us
also give thanks for the many generous and compassionate families who,
through adoption, have opened their hearts and homes and changed a child?s
life forever.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States
of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and
laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2000 as National
Adoption Month.  I urge all Americans to observe this month with
appropriate programs and activities to honor adoptive families and to
participate in efforts to find permanent, loving homes for waiting

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of
November, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of the Independence of
the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fifth.

                                   WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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