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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 24, 1999

President Clinton Gives Illinois Lion's Share of Adoption Funds Illinois Praised for Record-Setting Adoptions

CHICAGO - Governor George H. Ryan announced today that President Clinton has granted the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services $6.9 million for leading the nation in moving children from foster care into permanent homes.

"Today, I have the honor of presenting the first round of these awards, worth $20 million, to 35 of our 50 states," said President Clinton. "The good news is that these states did this, using creative new approaches and exceeding their own high goals. Illinois, for example - listen to this - the state of Illinois increased its adoptions by 112 percent - 112 - yes, you can clap for Illinois."

"We're proud of the progress that DCFS has made with its adoption and subsidized guardianship programs," Ryan said. "Every child should be able to go to bed at night feeling safe and secure. Being in a loving, permanent home provides the security that so many of us took for granted when we were children. This Presidential award is indeed an honor. We have exceeded the goals we set, but we won't stop there."

DCFS will use the $6.9 million award to expand adoption preservation services and to provide better casework to homes of relative foster families by reducing the caseloads from 25 families for every caseworker to 22 1/2 cases per caseworker.

FY99 statistics show 7,315 DCFS wards were adopted, tripling the number of adoptions since FY97. In FY99, 3,019 more children were adopted than during FY98. Of the FY99 adoptions, more than half were by family members. Additionally, from FY98 to FY99, the number of children moved into permanency through subsidized guardianship increased by 72 percent to 2,199.

DCFS Director Jess McDonald credits private agencies and juvenile courts across the state for their help in moving children into adoptive homes.

"More than 80 percent of our adoptions were made by private agencies. I'd like to especially thank Cook County Presiding Judge Nancy Salyers whose leadership resulted in an unprecedented increase in Cook County adoptions and guardianships," McDonald said. 



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