With a park playground and a group of recently adopted children and their proud parents behind him, Governor Bob Riley announced Alabama is receiving one of the nation’s largest federal awards for increasing the number of adoptions of foster children.
Alabama is receiving a $1.5 million adoption incentive award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Thirty-eight states are receiving an adoption incentive award and only four states are receiving an award larger than Alabama’s.
The state will use the funds to support adoption finalizations and help recruit additional foster and adoptive families.
"These incentive awards are not just randomly handed out to states. They are based on each state’s success in increasing adoptions from foster care. So the more a state succeeds, the more a state is rewarded," said Governor Riley. "That’s why this is not just a grant. This is a reward for doing well, and few states are doing as well as Alabama."
"Everyone involved understands that it’s extremely important for children to live in permanent, stable homes," stated DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. "In order to achieve this, we created an urgency for permanency that required a coordinated effort by everyone involved in the adoption process"
Last year, 676 waiting children were adopted through the Alabama Department of Human Resources. That was the highest number of adoptions ever through DHR. The $1.5 million award coming to the state is a result of that success.
In the 2008 fiscal year 412 children were adopted through DHR and the state received a federal incentive award of $412,000.
Governor Riley thanked those throughout the state who adopted children and also gave credit to the hard work of DHR staff and DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner, who has made adoptions a priority for the agency.
"This award is reflective of the many hours of hard work put in by the staff at DHR, their partners and, of course, the many caring families who open their hearts and their homes to children in foster care," said Governor Riley.