Children & Families
Foster Care: Thirty-five states have received a total of $20 million in bonuses from the federal government for increasing the number of children adopted out of the public foster-care system.
The bonuses are part of the Clinton administration's Adoption 2002 initiative and the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act, which sought to move children more quickly from foster care into permanent homes.
The law also included money for services to keep other families together when social workers decide it is appropriate and safe.
In fiscal 1998, 36,000 foster children were adopted, up from 31,000 in fiscal 1997 and 28,000 in 1996. Those are the first significant increases in adoption since the national foster-care program was created almost 20 years ago, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"We are well on the way to meeting the president's goal of doubling the number of children adopted from foster care by the year 2002," HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala said when the bonuses were announced at the White House late last month.
The bonuses--up to $4,000 for each child and $6,000 for each child with special needs--went to states where the number of children adopted in 1998 exceeded the average of the number of children adopted in the state in the three previous years.
An additional $5.5 million in awards under the federal Adoption Opportunities program was also announced. That money will go to public and private groups that work to eliminate obstacles to adoption, especially for children with special needs.
The recipients of this year's awards include agencies working to increase the adoption of minority children and those conducting research demonstration projects.
New Institute: The National League of Cities has established the Institute for Youth, Education, and Families to gather and disseminate information about successful local, neighborhood, and community youth and family programs.
The institute marks a new level of activity in the league's programs that focus on children and families, which were set up in 1986.
The Washington-based league was founded in 1924 to collect and provide information to cities and state municipal leagues.
More information is available online at www.nlc.org/families.htm.
--Linda Jacobson [email protected]
Vol. 19, Issue 7, Page 13