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States Again Place More Children in Adoptive Homes

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During the past two years, states have increased the number of finalized adoptions from foster care at an impressive rate-up 7,587 children in federal fiscal year (FY) 1998, and 9,388 children in FY 1999. While preliminary numbers for FY 2000 indicate that quite a few states may have placed fewer children than in previous years, at least 28 states have placed more children in adoptive homes than during their baseline year.[1] States' diligent family recruiting efforts are clearly paying off for children.

Many states, including Delaware, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas finalized significantly more adoptions in FY 2000 than in FY 1999. Of the states with the most children in care, results vary. California, which in FY 1999 finalized adoptions for nearly 2,300 more children than previously, has increased again. Illinois' FY 2000 adoptions (which topped out at more than 7,000 children in FY 1999-up more than 4,800 from two years earlier) have understandably levelled off. Regrettably, New York reported its second decline in as many years.

Child advocates who watch adoption numbers are also tracking incentive payments that states earn for increased adoptions.[2] FY 1999 increases warranted a total of $51.5 million in bonuses. The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 42 states received only $19.3 million in 2000 payments, however, because Congress did not appropriate funding to cover the dramatic increase. Thanks to an extra appropriation in the 2001 budget bill, the Adminestration for Children and Families issued the remaining $32.2 million to states on January 29, 2001.

As shown below, the two biggest beneficiaries were Illinois and California. Both received multi-million dollar payments.

Top Incentives for FY 1999
Adoptions (2001 Payment)

Illinois

$8,924,735

California

$7,320,260

Texas

$1,871,053

Oklahoma

$1,397,971

Georgia

$1,123,883

Arizona

$829,771

North Carolina

$802,237

Ohio

$710,875

Now, with only $10.8 million left in this year's adoption incentive budget ($43 million appropriated, less $32.2 million paid out for FY 1999 adoptions), Congress must again take action to find additional bonus funds. States that work hard to find more permanent homes for children need resources to keep adoptive families strong.

As child welfare professionals know, the adoption process does not end at finalization. Families who adopt children from foster care need ongoing support to successfully handle challenges that go along with special needs adoption. With bonuses received this January (that states have until September 30, 2002 to spend) and bonuses yet to come, states should invest heavily in post-adoption services. In this way, states can help to ensure that children who find adoptive families can stay a part of them forever.

Preliminary FY 2000 Adoption Increases by State

Baseline Numbers* Estimated 2000 Adoptions Total Increase

IV-E
Non-IV-E
Total
IV-E
Non-IV-E
Total

Alaska

120
17
137
170
20
190
53

Arkansas

237
41
278
251
64
315
37

California

4,287
1,967
6,254
5,415
955
6,370
**116

Delaware

27
9
36
76
27
103
67

D.C.

96
70
166
21
259
280
114

Louisiana

244
108
352


476
124

Maine

183
20
203
321
37
358
155

Michigan

2,108
338
2,446
2,341
434
2,775
329

Minnesota

452
87
539


617
78

Mississippi

197
41
238
270
108
378
140

Missouri

581
236
817
894
328
1,222
405

Montana

64
112
176
158
66
224
48

Nevada

148
63
211


223
12

New Hampshire

51
12
63


95
32

New Jersey

533
222
755
650
166
816
**61

New Mexico

212
46
258
285
95
380
122

North Carolina

673
234
907
1,031
299
1,330
423

Ohio

1,383
222
1,605
1,566
199
1,765
160

Oklahoma

625
229
854
629
453
1,082
228

Oregon

544
211
755
690
141
831
76

Pennsylvania

1,332
194
1,526


1,712
186

South Dakota

49
33
82
66
30
96
14

Tennessee

260
110
370
302
129
431
61

Texas

1,397
505
1,902
1,278
771
2,049
147

Washington

653
268
921
714
394
1,108
187

West Virginia

135
173
308
175
176
351
43

Wisconsin

540
82
622
640
79
719
97

Wyoming

25
19
44
21
27
48
4

TOTAL PRELIMINARY INCREASES Title IV-E: 3,233 Overall: 3,519

* Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as reported to NACAC in February 2001. The baseline figures reflects each state's number of adoptions in 1997, 1998, or 1999, whichever is highest. Incentive payments for the adoption of IV-E-eligible children is based on a comparison of the IV-E baseline against the official AFCARS IV-E adoption numbers.

Data reported in this chart consists of preliminary federal fiscal year 2000 adoption estimates NACAC received from the 28 states listed above. States not listed either experienced a decrease in adoptions (n=17) or did not provide information (n=7). Final AFCARS numbers may differ from these numbers.

IV-E and non IV-E numbers are not available for these states.

** State's figures are based on incomplete reporting. Final numbers are expected to be higher.

Notes

1 - The Department of Health and Human Services sets baselines against which to measure adoption increases by assessing the past few years of states' adoption finalization numbers.

2 - Under the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, incentive-eligible states that increase adoptions of children from foster care during federal fiscal years 1998 through 2002 will receive incentive payments.

(NACAC)
970 Raymond Avenue, Suite 106
St. Paul, MN 55114
phone: 651-644-3036
fax: 651-644-9848
e-mail: info@nacac.org
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