Concern: Congress is dragging their feet to pass the bipartisan Adoption Incentives reauthorization and the Family Connections Grants (which have now expired). The delay has already caused us to lose the funding that was found for the Family Connections Grants to be extended.

Action: Call your U.S. Senators and Representative. Call the Capitol switchboard to be connected, dial 202-224-3121.

Message: Congress should finish their work to extend the bipartisan Adoption Incentives and Family Connection Grants program.

Talking points:

  • The Adoption Incentive Program and the Family Connections Grants expired October 1st 2013.
  • Congress and the Senate especially must pass this reauthorization NOW.
  • In October 2013 the House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 3205, the bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Adoption Incentive Program and the Family Connections Grants.
  • The $15 million annually for three years for the Family Connections Grants has been lost with the recent FY2014 budget agreement that Congress passed in December 2013.
  • Both the House bill and the Senate bill found offsets to pay for theses grants. Now Congress needs to find a new way to pay for the Family Connections Grants.
  • This is a concern because current grantees are uncertain if they will receive their 2014 funding in time to continue existing programs under the grants administered by the federal Children’s Bureau.
  • If this is not reauthorized soon, we are concerned that the Adoption Incentive Program funding will not be seen as important or needed to the appropriators when completing FY2015 appropriation bills.
  • The program has always historically been extended in a bipartisan fashion.
  • Congress should stop dragging their feet and extend the bipartisan Adoption Incentives and Family Connection Grants program. 

Background information: 

  • The Adoption Incentives Fund rewards states for increasing adoptions from foster care.
  • Both the House and Senate bills to reauthorize the Adoption Incentives Fund expand the incentive to recognize kinship care placements in addition to adoption.
  • The House bill also shifts the awards on rates rather than just numbers of children adopted, since some states have reduced their number of children in foster care.
  • The Family Connections Grants are discretionary funds that are awarded to the filed for:  kinship navigator programs, family group decision making, family finding and substance abuse treatment for families in child welfare.
  • The Senate coupled two unrelated child welfare bills with their version of the Adoption Incentive Program reauthorization and it has only passed out of the Senate Finance Committee (S.1870).
  • The Adoption Incentives Fund and the Family Connections grants are funded differently: The Adoption Incentives Fund receives an annual appropriations, while the the Family Connection Grants receive mandatory funds, which means funding is written into the law and it requires Congress to pay for the funding at the time it is reauthorized.