The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, has been revamped what was the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, the government program provided states with incentive funds for increasing the number of children adopted from the foster care system.
The new program provides stronger incentives for states to place children, particularly older children and children with special needs, into adoptive homes. The revised program gave states $4,000 for every foster children placed above their 2007 baseline, plus a payment of $8,000 for every foster child age nine and older and $4,000 for every special needs child.
A total of $45 million will be awarded to 38 states. In addition, states can receive federal stimulus funds and matching funds from savings incurred to "speed up implementation of measures taken to improve the state’s child welfare system."
Moving children out of the foster care system is noble cause, but these funds encourage only one alternative for doing so: stranger adoption. No funds are allocated for family preservation or extended family care, or to locate extended family as resources for these children.
The same is true of tax benefits: they go to extra-family adoption, and are not limited to the adoption of children from foster care. In fact, most are used in international adoption.
With a new administration, we need to begin a serious letter writing campaign to encourage family preservation programs to decrease the number of children being place din foster care in the firs place. Such in-home care programs have proven more cost effective, safe. and successful than traditional foster care:
President Barack Obama
First Lady, Michelle Obama
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius