49 states, plus the District of Columbia were awarded bonuses for increasing the number of children adopted from foster care. The funding, announced by HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF), can be used to enhance the state’s child welfare system. (The federal agency has not yet released which state was not awarded a bonus)
“The Trump Administration is awarding this adoption and legal guardianship incentive award because leaders in the state have worked hard to find more permanent homes for children in need,” said Lynn Johnson, HHS assistant secretary for children and families. “We thank these states for focusing on adoptions, helping to build a culture of life in America.”
To account for changes in the number of children in foster care, incentive awards are calculated using base rates for each category. The number of adoptions and/or guardianships in each category is compared to a number that is derived by multiplying a base rate in each category to the number of children in foster care on the last day of the preceding fiscal year. In each category, the base rate is defined as the lesser of the rate for the immediately preceding fiscal year or the average rate for the immediately preceding three fiscal years.
$5,000 per child for improving the number of foster child adoptions;
$4,000 per child for improving the number of foster child guardianships.
$7,500 per child for improving the number of pre-adolescent adoptions and pre-adolescent foster child guardianships; and
$10,000 per child for improving the number of older child adoptions and older foster child guardianships.
“The Trump Administration wants children to remain safely with their families whenever possible. When it is not possible, we still want all of our children and youth to have the permanency of a family,” Assistant Secretary Johnson stated. “We recognize your efforts to make this possible, and our children and youth are better for your hard work.”
Based on adoptions and legal guardianships completed in fiscal year 2019, the qualifying states and the District of Columbia earned a total of $70.4 million in adoption incentive awards, the highest annual total amount ever earned. This total is approximately $3.7 million more than earned in the previous year. For information on this year’s funding, by state, as well as information on past year’s incentive payments, see here.
The adoption incentive awards follow the release of new data showing record-high levels of adoption and a decrease in the number of children entering foster care. Nationally there are still 122,200 children in foster care awaiting adoption.