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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 13, 1997


I am pleased that the Senate and the House of Representatives have passed historic, bipartisan legislation to promote adoption and improve our nation's child welfare system, giving our nation's most vulnerable children what every child deserves -- a safe and permanent home. I very much look forward to signing the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 into law.

This legislation makes clear that children's health and safety are the paramount concerns of the public child welfare system. I am particularly pleased that the bill incorporates my Administration's recommendations to provide states with financial incentives to increase the number of children who are adopted and to make other changes in federal law that will make adoption easier and move children more rapidly out of foster care and into permanent homes. The legislation also strengthens support to states for services that help families stay together when that is possible and promote adoption when it is not. Most important, this legislation will help us meet the goal of doubling, by the year 2002, the number of children who are adopted or permanently placed each year.

I want to thank the many members of the Senate and the House of Representatives who worked so hard on this bipartisan achievement, but I particularly want to thank the congressional leadership and the sponsors of this legislation, Senators Chafee and Rockefeller and Representatives Camp and Kennelly, for their commitment. And I would like to add a special word of thanks to the First Lady for her tenacity and dedication to this important issue.

I can think of no better way to celebrate National Adoption Month than to sign this legislation into law.