Adoptions Down in Mississippi

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Fewer children were adopted in Mississippi this year, which officials said will keep the state from receiving a bonus and hiring needed adoption workers.

States receive bonuses for exceeding the number of foster children adopted compared with the previous year. For the first time since 1999, Mississippi did not get a bonus.

By the end of the last federal fiscal year, 266 children had been adopted. This year it was 222. More than 266 children needed to be adopted before the state could receive a bonus.

Thelma Brittain of the Department of Human Services said the lack of licensed social workers is one reason the number of adoptions has been affected.

Officials said not getting the bonus exacerbates that problem.

The money comes from the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act, which provides from $4,000 to $6,000 for each foster child.

From 1999 to 2002, Mississippi received bonuses of more than $1.12 million.