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November 2000Vol. 1, No. 7HHS Awards Adoption Bonuses and Grants

States that increased adoptions of children waiting in the foster care system received bonuses from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in September.

Forty-four States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico will receive a share of the $20 million appropriated for the incentive awards. This compares with 35 States last year. Every State plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico has now qualified for these funds for one or both years of the program. The number of adoptions have increased so dramatically that, as specified by law, the awards have been prorated.

Adoptions of foster care children in the United States have continued to increase since the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) was implemented in 1997. The most recent statistics show:

  • 46,000 adoptions in fiscal year 1999
  • 36,000 adoptions in fiscal year 1998
  • 28,000 adoptions in fiscal year 1996

The President's goal in the Adoption 2002 initiative is to reach 56,000 adoptions by 2002, double the number since 1996. ASFA is helping to achieve this goal by making safety, permanency, and well-being of children paramount and providing this financial incentive for adoptions.

In addition to these State bonuses, HHS awarded grants to public and private organizations under the Adoption Opportunities Program, which aims to eliminate barriers to adoption, particularly for children with special needs. These grants, totaling $11.3 million will support initiatives in the following areas:

  • Increasing adoptive placements of Hispanic/Latino children
  • Leadership development of parent support groups
  • Innovations to increase permanency options for children in kinship care
  • Knowledge development for concurrent planning
  • Collaborations between child welfare agencies and court systems to facilitate timely adoptions
  • Innovative approaches to expediting permanence and implementing ASFA.

The National Adoption Center ( was also the recipient of a grant to develop and implement a national adoption Internet photo-listing service. Scheduled to debut in 2002, the website will feature pictures and descriptions of at least 6,500 children needing homes.

The HHS press release, which includes a complete list of State bonuses and grantees, is available online at: