NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

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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