Yesterday I had a wonderful time celebrating this joyous holiday with the children of this city at the 51st Annual Easter Egg-Stravaganza in Central Park.
During the holidays, we're reminded of the importance of family and the importance in providing children with the stable, secure and loving homes that enable them to lead happy and productive lives.
And to that end, the City is doing everything we can to ensure that children are in a secure family environment.
Under the leadership of Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, the Administration for Children's Services has done a great deal to speed up the adoption process for children who need adoption.
In the last two years we've completed more adoptions than ever before. The number of completed adoptions increased to 3,665 in Fiscal '95 and 3,666 in Fiscal 1996.
Although the number of adoptions has declined when compared to the same time a year ago, if we were to compare the numbers of adoptions from this year to those of three years ago, you'd see that we're already way ahead of where we were just a few years ago. We're doing everything we can to improve the adoption process.
Commissioner Scoppetta's executive staff has been meeting with every one of the 53 foster care agencies to identify and clear up roadblocks in the adoption process. And performance on adoption has become an integral part of evaluations for all agencies.
The Administration for Children's Services is also coordinating with the Family Courts to streamline the process. Commissioner Scoppetta and his staff have already met with Chief Judge of the State of New York, Judith Kaye, and the head of Family Court, Michael Gage, and have agreed on ways to accelerate proceedings which include fingerprinting and child abuse history clearance.
In addition to these improvements, the City was awarded a $4 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to help facilitate the adoption of 5,000 children with special needs.
These children, many of whom are older or have medical problems, need the support of loving families.
If you would be interested in becoming an adoptive parent, call the Administration for Children's Services at 676-6946.From Gracie Mansion, this is Rudy Giuliani wishing you a very Happy Easter.