THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Today's award of nearly $20 million in adoption bonuses to states demonstrates the dramatic success of our efforts to move more children from the foster care system to loving homes they can call their own. With this second round of awards by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have now earned bonuses for increasing the number of children adopted from public foster care. Last year alone, 46,000 foster care children were adopted -- an increase of nearly 65 percent since 1996. This puts us well on the way to meeting my goal of doubling the number of adoptions from 28,000 in 1996 to 56,000 by 2002. I commend the states for accepting the challenge to more rapidly move children from foster care into permanent homes, and the many loving families who have opened their hearts and their homes to adopt children from the foster care rolls.
I also want to thank the First Lady for her commitment and leadership on this issue. Hillary spearheaded my Administration's effort to transform our child welfare system and promote adoption by leading the Administration's Adoption 2002 initiative, which served as the blueprint for the Adoption and Safe Families Act that I signed into law in 1997. The adoption bonus awards were included as part of my our Adoption 2002 initiative, and were enacted as part of the Adoption and Safe Families Act, establishing the first-ever financial incentives to states to increase adoptions of children waiting in the foster care system.