Hillary Clinton: Adoption law changes make process easier
WASHINGTON -- Adopting children is now easier and more affordable than many Americans may believe, thanks to recent changes in adoption law, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday while a guest on CNN's Larry King Live.
Mrs. Clinton was among several guests on the program who urged Americans to take advantage of the streamlined adoption process in an effort to find homes for a vast number of foster children.
About one-fourth of an estimated 400,000 children in foster care, including 25,000 infants, are currently available for adoption, Mrs. Clinton said, "but we do not have enough permanent loving homes for those children."
There was a time, she acknowledged, when adoptive parents were selected on the basis of their wealth and material possessions. But changes have been made and the emphasis has shifted to helping move children into healthy, stable adoptive homes.
"We now provide more financial support through the federal government for people who adopt," Mrs. Clinton explained.
That support comes in the form of tax credits and other programs for adoptive parents, especially those who adopt children with special physical and emotional needs, she said.
"So, there's a lot of help out there."
Adoption changes over time
Mrs. Clinton explained she has a long history working with adoption and foster care issues, and she believes times have changed for the better on placing children in supportive home environments.
"The very first case I did as a young law student was to work with a lawyer to try to help a foster mother adopt a young foster child," Mrs. Clinton said.
"In those days, back in 1970, often times the decisions were made not on the best interests of the child but who had the biggest house or the most material possessions. We've come a long way to make adoptions much more available and affordable for all people," she said.
A campaign trail stop
Mrs. Clinton weighed in on the topic while on the campaign trail as candidate for U.S. Senate in New York, where she is expected to face New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the November election.
Earlier in the day, at a benefit for Coalition for the Homeless, Mrs. Clinton said she would fight to create more affordable housing and housing vouchers for low-income families and to expand treatment for homeless who are mentally ill.
Mrs. Clinton said, if she were elected, she would lobby for Congress to triple the number of housing vouchers and target them to cities with the highest homeless rates.
Reuters contributed to this report.