The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008(HR 6893), is the most significant legislation relating to adoption and foster care since the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 was passed. This new legislation includes reforms designed to benefit children in foster care and their best interest in adoption planning and placement.
Some of the reforms include:
- Reauthorizing of the Adoption Incentives Program. Where the federal government allocates financial incentives for states with an increase in the number of children adopted from the foster care system, through 2013.
- Increased funding amounts states receive from the Adoption Incentives Program by establishing 2007 as the new “base year” for measurement of future performance, and increasing the additional funding for special needs and older child adoptions.
- Ensures all children with special needs placed out of foster care for adoption are eligible for federal adoption assistance--regardless of the adoptive family's income by 2018
- Mandates states to inform prospective adoptive parents about their eligibility for the federal adoption tax credit.
- Requires the states to make reasonable efforts to place siblings together.
- Allows the states an option to extend adoption assistance, foster care maintenance and relative guardianship assistance payments for children aged 18, 19 or 20.
While this Act doesn't resolve some of the very real reforms needed for the foster care and adoption systems it does expand and maintain some of the important elements that have made it possible for more families to be able to adopt children waiting in foster care and meet some of their extraordinary special needs.
The government leaders responsible for the passage of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008(HR 6893)include:
- Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA)
- Representative Jerry Weller (R-IL)
- Senator Baucus (D-MT)
- Senator Grassley (R-IA) and
- Senator Rockefeller (D-WV)
Please contact these Senators and Representatives to thank them for their leadership on this vital issue and let them know we are out here and appreciate this step and hope we can count on their attention to other matters important to foster care and adoption reforms in the future.
GovTrack.us. H.R. 6893--110th Congress (2008): Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, GovTrack.us (database of federal legislation)