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November/December 2001Vol. 2, No. 6HHS Awards Adoption Bonuses

In September, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded 35 States and the District of Columbia approximately $11 million in bonuses for increasing adoptions of children from the foster care system.

The bonuses are awarded as required by the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997. States that exceed the number of children adopted compared to the previous year receive a bonus, consisting of $4,000 for each child adopted and $6,000 for each child with special needs adopted.

Since ASFA was passed, adoption of foster care children has continued to increase every year, as demonstrated by the following statistics:

  • nearly 50,000 adoptions in fiscal year 2000
  • 46,000 adoptions in fiscal year 1999
  • 36,000 adoptions in fiscal year 1998
  • 28,000 adoptions in fiscal year 1996

"These awards demonstrate that States have made great progress in reducing the number of children waiting to become part of a permanent family," said Wade Horn, HHS Assistant Secretary for Children and Families. "I challenge public agencies to keep building on this record of success."

The States that demonstrated the largest increases were Delaware with an increase of 186 percent and Maine with an increase of 100 percent. The largest monetary award (more than $4 million) went to California, which completed 8,221 adoptions, a 31 percent increase from the previous fiscal year.

For a complete list of States and their bonuses, visit: