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Policy Reform

Since its foundation in 1980, the National Council For Adoption (NCFA) has been a leader in advancing adoption and child welfare policies that promote adoption of children out of foster care, presenting adoption as a positive option for women with unplanned pregnancies, reducing obstacles to transracial adoption, making adoption more affordable, and facilitating intercountry adoption.

More recently, NCFA has been educating Congress on the need to pass comprehensive federal foster care financing reform in order to expedite placement for the estimated 400,540 children in foster care. NCFA’s recommendations to Congress center on reassessing child welfare priorities and reallocating resources so as to give more emphasis and funding to strategies for moving children quickly through the child welfare system, particularly the crucial but neglected strategy of adoptive and foster parent recruitment and training.

NCFA was instrumental in securing passage of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, which extends and improves the Adoption Incentives program, makes all children with special needs eligible for federal adoption assistance by 2018, and allows states the option of extending adoption assistance payments to youths aged 19, 20, or 21. This was the most comprehensive child welfare reform bill since the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997.

For years, NCFA has been promoting awareness of the need for judicial accountability and the establishment of performance measures for juvenile and family courts to ensure that children do not languish in foster care. NCFA’s educational activities helped inform Congress’s decision (in P.L. 109-171) to fund case tracking, so courts can better monitor and improve their permanency planning, and training for judges and court administrators.

NCFA promoted the Safe and Timely Interstate Placement of Foster Children Act, which expedites the process for placing foster and adopted children into homes across state lines.

NCFA supported the passage of the Fair Access to Foster Care Act, which allowed foster care maintenance payments for private, for-profit agencies.

NCFA promoted the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, which increased the tax credit that parents of all adopted children could claim to $10,000, to be adjusted for inflation.

NCFA supported the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which created substantial incentives for providing permanent families for children and is widely credited with increasing the number of adoptions from foster care in subsequent years. NCFA also educated policymakers on the need to pass the Immigration and Nationality Act, which provided automatic American citizenship for children adopted abroad.

NCFA’s educational efforts were instrumental in the passage of the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) which, as amended by the Interethnic Adoption Provisions (IEAP) of the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, stipulates that states may not deny or delay any adoptive or foster placement on the basis of the race or ethnic background of either the child or the prospective parents.

NCFA educated policymakers on the need to pass the Uniform Adoption Act, which facilitated adoption placements and protected confidentiality in adoption.

NCFA assisted in the promotion of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which improved adoption assistance and strengthened support for abandoned infants.

NCFA successfully promoted an increase from $1,500 to $6,000 in the tax credit for adoptive parents of children with special needs.

NCFA’s educational efforts assisted in Congress passing the Adolescent Family Life Act, which promoted adoption as an alternative for teenagers facing unintended pregnancy, and a $1,500 tax credit to adoptive parents for expenses associated with adopted special needs children.