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January/February 2001Vol. 2, No. 1Issue Brief Profiles States' Best Practices to Increase Adoptions, Improve Foster Care Placements

A new issue brief by the National Governor's Association Center for Best Practices highlights State best practices in managing and delivering adoption and foster care services, streamlining adoption procedures, recruiting adoptive and foster parents, and implementing family-centered, neighborhood-based placement strategies.

Adoptions have increased nationally by 64 percent between 1996 and 1999, qualifying every State for Federal adoption bonuses in 1998 and/or 1999. States successfully increased adoptions through a variety of methods. The issue brief cites State initiatives in the following areas:

  • Privatization and performance-based contracting for adoption
  • Streamlined adoption procedures
  • State incentives for adoptive parents
  • Adoption outreach efforts
  • State adoption Resource websites

An increase in children coming into foster care, combined with a decrease in the pool of available foster families and limited resources, have hindered States' ability to find stable placement settings for foster children. Under the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA), up to 10 States a year are allowed waivers of Title IV-E Federal funds--usually reserved for direct costs of out-of-home placements--to design and test new approaches to improve service delivery. The issue brief profiles State demonstration projects that provide:

  • Increased support services to foster families
  • Family-centered, neighborhood-based placement strategies
  • Assisted guardianship placements

In addition to highlighting these best practices, the issue brief summarizes recent federal changes to child welfare policy, describes Federal assessment tools of State child welfare systems, and lists State contacts and related resources.

A copy of the issue brief, A Place to Call Home: State Efforts to Increase Adoption and Improve Foster Care Placements, is available online at:

Related Items

See "HHS Awards Adoption Bonuses and Grants" in the November issue of the Children's Bureau Express.

See "HHS Announces Winners of Adoption 2002 Excellence Awards" in this issue of Children's Bureau Express.