Adoptions Surge Under Incentive Program

September 24, 1999

The overall number of adoptions of children from foster care jumped 29 percent in 1998, from the 1995-97 annual average. Analysts say a program of bonuses to states and tax incentives to adopting families spurred the increase.

  • Adoptions increased from 28,000 in 1996 to 36,000 in 1998 -- the first significant increase since the national foster care program was established nearly two decades ago.
  • Overall, 35 states increased their adoption rates.
  • Hawaii scored the largest percentage increase in adoptions -- up 249 percent when it placed 297 children in 1998, compared to an average of 85 per year in the earlier period.
  • Although the increase was only 2 percent in New York state, it had the highest overall number of adoptions -- 4,822 in 1998.

The 35 states which increased adoptions will receive federal "bonus awards" of $20 million. They total up to $4,000 per child and $6,000 per child with special needs. A 1996 law also established tax credits of $5,000 to families adopting children -- or $6,000 for families adopting children with special needs.

The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that another 110,000 children are still awaiting adoption in the foster care system.

Source: Susan Page, "Unprecedented Surge in Adoptions of Foster Kids," USA Today, September 24, 1999.


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