• Dec 2003/Jan 2004
  • Vol. 4, No. 10

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President Signs Adoption Promotion Act of 2003

On Tuesday, December 2, 2003, the President signed into law the Adoption Promotion Act of 2003 (H.R. 3182). The legislation enacts the President's proposal to extend the Adoption Incentive Program another 5 years and focus greater attention on finding adoptive families for older children in foster care.

"[This] act of Congress strongly affirms our national commitment to adoption and will encourage adoption in every part of our land," the President remarked at the signing.

For fiscal year 2004, the bill authorizes $43 million in performance-based incentives to States that are successful in increasing the number of children adopted from foster care. The bonus program, first created as part of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, has contributed to the substantial increase in adoptions in recent years--from 31,000 in fiscal year 1997 to approximately 51,000 in fiscal year 2002.

Despite recent progress, many children are still in need of adoptive families. At the end of fiscal year 2002, 532,698 children remained in foster care, and 116,653 of the children in foster care had adoption as their permanent placement goal. About half of the children waiting to be adopted are over the age of 9. Today, national data show that a child over the age of 9 is more likely to remain in foster care through his or her 18th birthday than to find an adoptive home.

The Adoption Promotion Act of 2003 will help change that statistic by encouraging States to focus greater effort on finding adoptive families for children ages 9 and older. The Adoption Incentive Program will now include a targeted bonus for States successful in increasing the number of older children adopted from foster care, as well as continue to recognize overall progress in increasing adoptions from foster care.

Related Items

The President's remarks at the signing of H.R. 3182 can be viewed on the White House website at www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/12/20031202-1.html.

For complete text of the Adoption Promotion Act of 2003, go to http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/ getdoc.cgi?dbname=108_cong_bills&docid=f:h3182enr.txt.pdf.

A statement by Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), on Senate passage of the Adoption Promotion Act can be found on the HHS website at www.hhs.gov/news/press/2003pres/20031117.html.

For more information about H.R. 3182, see "New Bill Aims to Increase Adoptions of Older Children in Foster Care" in the October 2003 issue of Children's Bureau Express.

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