Newsroom > DHHS News Release


September 18, 2009


Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287

Department of Health and Human Services Receives
Adoption Bonus for Fifth Straight Year

Lincoln – A $569,917 adoption incentive bonus from the federal Administration for Children and Families to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recognizes Nebraska’s continuing success in finding permanent adoptive families for children who are state wards.

“More children are leaving foster care than are entering foster care, and a record number of children quickly and safely moved to loving families through adoption last year,” said Todd Reckling, director of the Division of Children and Family Services in DHHS.

In calendar year 2008 there were 572 adoptions, a record high. There was a 92.6 per cent increase in finalized adoptions of children who were state wards from 2003 to 2008.

“I’m very proud of staff for their unwavering efforts to move children to permanency and want to thank everyone who contributed to this accomplishment,” Reckling said. “The courts, guardians ad litem, county attorneys, CASA, the Foster Care Review Board and other partners all played a huge role in this success.”

States get adoption incentive bonuses when adoptions exceed the number of adoptions in a base year, including adoptions of children under age 9 with special needs, or children who are older than 9 years.

DHHS received adoption incentive bonuses for these federal fiscal years:

  • FFY2009 - $569,917 bonus
  • FFY2008 - $420,000 bonus
  • FFY2007 - $336,000 bonus
  • FFY2006 - $ 50,000 bonus
  • FFY2005 - $250,000 bonus

There were 572 adoptions in calendar year 2008, 467 in 2007, 456 in 2006 and 361 in 2005. Even with that progress, there are over 360 children in foster care of all ages, backgrounds and abilities who are looking for a loving adoptive family.

“I want to thank all of the families who have opened their hearts and homes to children in need,” said Kerry Winterer, CEO for DHHS. “I’d like to remind Nebraskans that more adoptive families are needed, especially for children who have special needs. If you and your family want to make a difference to a child, call 1-800-7PARENT (1-800-772-7368) to learn more about adoption.”

Pictures and information about some of the children looking for adoptive homes can be found at