For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 23, 2002
Helping Children and Building Families Through Adoption
Todays Presidential Action:
President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush announced a new initiative to increase public awareness and encourage Americans to consider adoption of children in foster care.
President Bush announced a new public service advertising campaign, featuring First Lady Laura Bush and actor Bruce Willis, to encourage Americans to adopt children in foster care. The President also tapped Bruce Willis to serve as a national spokesperson for children in foster care.
The President also announced the creation of the first federal and only national web site that focuses on waiting children www.AdoptUSKids.org that will reduce the geographic barriers and waiting time needed to connect children from across the country with adoptive families. In its first year, it will feature pictures and profiles of over 6,500 children from 46 states who are available for adoption, as well as a database of approved adoptive families.
Background on Todays Presidential Action
More than 130,000 of the 565,000 American children in foster care, ranging in age from toddlers to teenagers, are waiting to be adopted. On average, these children have been in foster care for almost four years. Most of these children have special needs that limit their ability to be adopted, such as being part of a sibling group that wishes to stay together, belonging to a particular ethnic group, or having physical or emotional challenges. These children are adoptable; in fact, in 2000, over 50,000 children in foster care were adopted. But recruiting a family that can meet the special needs of a particular child can be challenging, especially when the right family may live in a different state or county.
President Bush believes that every child in America deserves to live in a safe, permanent and loving family. Today, the President announced:
Adoption Public Service Advertisement (PSA): The adoption PSA will feature the First Lady and actor Bruce Willis. It will also highlight a new website and toll-free number for interested families to receive adoption information and be referred to their State adoption specialist. Additionally, President Bush has asked Bruce Willis to serve as a national spokesperson for children in foster care.
First Federal Adoption Web Site and Internet Photolisting: AdoptUSKids.org, an Internet adoption photolisting service, will help connect waiting children from across the country with loving adoptive families. The site provides prospective adoptive parents with a private, secure place to communicate interactively with other families and adoption experts - especially useful for families living in rural areas. Social workers will be able to follow inquiries from families approved to adopt and respond to them instantly through the site. AdoptUSKids is an initiative of the Children's Bureau of the Department of Health and Human Services, and it is currently operated by the National Adoption Center.
President Bushs Commitment to Promoting Adoption
Promoting adoption and supporting families who adopt: On January 17, 2002, the President signed the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Amendment Act to help States provide services to promote adoption for children in foster care and provide post-adoption support to families so that they can stay strong and their children reach their potential. The President's FY 03 budget strongly supports the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program with an increase of more than $130 million over FY 02 levels.
Adoption Tax Credit: The tax relief bill that the President signed last year permanently extends and increases the adoption tax credit from $5,000 per child to $10,000 per child for qualified adoption expenses. For special needs adoptions, it increases the credit from $6,000, for qualified adoption expenses, to $10,000, regardless of expenses.