Governor Robert Bentley today announced that the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) will receive a $1.39 million adoption incentive award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Alabama's award is the seventh largest in the nation and second only to Florida in the Southeast.
At a press conference today surrounded by families who have adopted children from foster care in Alabama, Governor Bentley highlighted the importance of adoption.
"As we celebrate the holiday season, we must not forget the 6,000 children in foster care who are waiting to find permanent families. Every child desires a permanent home, and when parents adopt a child to love as their own, lives are changed," said Governor Robert Bentley. "This incentive money will go a long way to help support adoption finalizations and help recruit additional foster and adoptive families."
The award is based on Alabama's success in finding adoptive homes for foster children in the state's permanent custody who are identified as special needs. In fiscal year 2010, 549 foster children were adopted through DHR. In 2009, DHR finalized a record 676 foster care adoptions and 412 children were adopted through DHR in 2008.
"We're very pleased that the hard work and dedication of our staff is being recognized once again," said DHR commissioner Nancy Buckner at the announcement today. "This financial award will help them continue their efforts to help children achieve permanency."
This year's incentive award is the second largest award ever received by DHR and is the second consecutive year that Alabama has received an adoption incentive award. The funds from last year's adoption incentive award were used to improve Alabama's child welfare program and to recruit new foster and adoptive families. The 2011 award will be utilized in a similar fashion.
In addition to helping children find adoptive homes, Alabama continues to have a need for additional foster homes. Individuals can lean how to become a foster or adoptive parent by calling the DHR recruitment specialists at 1-866- 4- AL-KIDS or visit DHR's web site at www.dhr.alabama.gov