Clinton calls for easing adoption process
December 14, 1996
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Surrounded by adoptive families and accompanied by the first lady, President Clinton announced initiatives Saturday to make adoption easier.
"We will double the number of children moved out of foster care to permanent homes ... by the year 2002," Clinton said during a live broadcast of his weekly radio address from the Oval Office. (197K/18 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
The president directed Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala to launch an extensive study to determine how to reach that goal, and report back with recommendations in 60 days.
"We must work tirelessly to make sure that every boy and girl in America who is up for adoption has a family waiting out to reach him or her," Clinton said. "No child should be in foster care for one day longer than he or she needs to be."
Clinton noted several steps already taken by his administration, such as a $5,000 tax credit to help families adopt children and a ban on racial preference adoptions, but added that "we must do more." (83K/8 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Clinton called for ways to help individual states "set and meet urgent new adoption targets" and to improve coordination of state and federal adoption authorities. He asked Shalala to provide an outline of financial incentives to help states increase adoption rates.
The president also asked Shalala to take a look at current federal law and determine what if any changes could be made to aid the adoption process.
He also asked Shalala and other cabinet departments to launch a public awareness campaign.
At the conclusion of the radio address, members of the adoptive families -- and children waiting to be adopted -- spoke about their experiences.
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