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Letter to Congress - Fix Adoption Incentives Funds Shortfall

We are facing a huge problem at the federal level regarding Adoption Incentives funding, and we need your help! 


The Adoption and Legal Guardianship Incentive Payments program recognizes and rewards states for improved performance in ensuring children and youth leave foster care to permanent adoptive and guardianship families. Through this program, states receive financial awards that increase adoptions and guardianships during the previous fiscal year. Many states use the incentive payments to support adoptive and guardianship families, including funding post-adoption/guardianship programs and adoption or guardianship assistance benefits. The program is a critical piece of the federal government’s effort to encourage and support permanency for children and teens.

The Problem:

Up until the Budget Control Act of 2011, if states earned more than had been appropriated, appropriators made up the shortfall by increasing funding. Since then, however, appropriators have not made up for the shortfall. This resulted in the Department of Health and Human Services to take funds from current year's appropriations to make up for previous year's incentive payments. Now, there is a shortage of $50 million that is still owed to the states. Due to the inability to fully pay the states funds earned, there is a potential loss of post-adoption/guardianship services. These services are critical to ensure success for our children who leave foster care to adoption or guardianship, allowing them to reach their full potential. 

What You Can Do:

This year, Congress needs to make up for the $50 million shortfall as well as fund the annual appropriation for potential awards to be announced in September 2018. We strongly urge you to write to your members of Congress and to both the House of Representatives and Senate Appropriations Committees to raise awareness to the current situation, asking for a fix:

1. We have provided VFA's letters to Congress to use as templates for your own letters. Request Appropriations Committees in both the House and Senate to fully fund Adoption Incentives Funds. A link to the list of House of Representatives Appropriations Committee members along with the Senate Appropriations Committee members can be found below:

2. Send your letters before March 1, 2018, including the one-pager factsheet.

Find a PDF of our letter to the House here

Find a PDF of our letter to the Senate here

Find a PDF to our one-pager here