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Office of the President

For Immediate Release November 24, 1998
                          TO INCREASE ADOPTIONS
                            November 24, 1998

Today, the President will issue a new directive to the Department of Health and Human Services to expand the use of the Internet as a tool to find homes for children waiting to be adopted from foster care. The President will make the announcement with the First Lady at a White House ceremony marking National Adoption Month and celebrating new adoptions in the District of Columbia.

Creating an Internet Registry to Meet the President's Goals for Adoption. In 1996, President Clinton set a goal of doubling, by the year 2002, adoptions and other permanent placements from the public child welfare system. Since then, adoptions have increased; from 1996 to 1997 alone, adoptions increased by over 10 percent, from 28,000 to 31,000. Today, the President is directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a plan to expand internet use to share information about children who are legally free for adoption in order to shorten the time needed to find them adoptive families. HHS estimates that approximately 100,000 children in our nation's foster care system cannot return to their birth families and need families to adopt them. An effective national registry will help break down geographic barriers to adoption and assist in meeting the President's adoption goal. HHS Secretary Donna Shalala will report to the President within 60 days on a plan to work with the states and other leaders to carry out this effort.

Building on a Strong Record. Today's announcement builds on a deep commitment by the President, the First Lady, and the Administration to facilitate adoptions and improve the child welfare system. Since taking office, President Clinton has championed efforts to make foster care work better for the children it serves, to find and assist adoptive families, and to break down barriers, including high adoption costs and complex regulations: