State Sets New Adoption Record

Contact: John Truscott (517) 335-6397

Governor John Engler announced today that Michigan's Family Independence Agency and contractual adoption agencies have helped 2,775 special needs children move into permanent homes in fiscal year 2000, exceeding the FY 1999 total of 2,417 and resulting in a 15 percent increase in the number of children who were placed with a permanent family.

"Through the combined efforts of the FIA and private adoption agencies, thousands of at-risk children have been placed in homes where they will receive the loving support they both need and deserve," said Governor Engler. "As a result of successfully finalizing these adoptions, Michigan is eligible to receive a $1.8 million incentive payment from the federal government."

Pending Congressional approval, the funds will be allotted later in 2001 to be spent in the fiscal year beginning in October.

Michigan received more than $2 million for meeting federal adoption goals last year. The FIA worked with parent groups and private agencies, then used the funds to develop and enhance existing community-based, post-adoption services around the state, and fund continuing education programs for professionals and parents.

Under terms of the incentive program, states are paid a set amount based on each state ward adoption finalized after the state reaches a baseline requirement. Michigan exceeded their baseline total for FY 2000, therefore qualifying for the incentive payment.

The federal government created the incentive payment program as part of the national "Adoption 2002" initiative. The goal is to double the number of adoptions nationwide between 1996 and 2002. Funding for the incentive program is an outgrowth of the 1997 federal Adoption and Safe Families Act.

The Family Independence Agency exclusively represents the interests of state wards children who were removed from their birth home for abuse or neglect and whose parents have legally surrendered or otherwise lost their parental rights. The agency does not participate in private or international adoptions.

The 2000 total represents children in adoptions finalized by a family court during the fiscal year. Before 1998, public agencies reported adoption placements during the year, or the number of children placed with families, some of which may not have been legally finalized.