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Friday, March 1, 1996

Salvatori Prize

Beginning in 1996, The Heritage Foundation will give an annual Salvatori Prize for American Citizenship.

Endowed by a generous gift from the Henry Salvatori Foundation of Los Angeles, the Salvatori Prize for American Citizenship will recognize and reward extraordinary efforts by American citizens who help their communities solve problems the government has been unable or unwilling to solve. In the words of Heritage President Edwin Feulner Jr., "The conservative revolution has two parts. Everyone understands that part one is to reduce the size and power of the federal government. Part two is to return responsibility to American citizens to solve local problems. We need to get government out of the way if this is to happen, but we also need to show people how to solve their own problems."

The Salvatori Prize, Feulner said, is intended to do just that. "We will highlight the success stories, and encourage more successes, while promoting the kind of American citizenship envisioned by our Founding Fathers." The winner of the annual Salvatori Prize will receive a $25,000 cash award.

Reforms to Speed Adoption

This nation's $10-billion-per-year foster-care system keeps thousands of children from being united with loving parents," writes FitzGerald Senior Fellow Patrick Fagan, a former family therapist and clinical psychologist. "The anti-adoption bias of the current public-sector welfare bureaucracy has resulted in an adoption process with too many built-in obstacles. These obstacles feed children into the foster-care system and keep them there, ensuring a larger clientele for public agencies, at a staggering emotional cost," he says. "The quickest, simplest solution is for states, which have primary responsibility for regulating adoption, to place the job of finding suitable parents in the hands of private adoption services."

Only 1 percent of women choose adoption as a solution to their unwanted pregnancies. "Some 40 percent of pregnancy counselors don't even raise the issue of adoption with pregnant clients; another 40 percent provide incomplete or inaccurate information about adoption," Fagan says. Yet when adoption is mentioned, 38 percent choose it over alternatives like abortion. Race is another barrier in the adoption system, Fagan says. A higher proportion of black than white children are available to adopt, and many white parents would like to adopt black children. Yet the welfare bureaucracy is dedicated to a policy of "race matching," which delays adoption for years. As a result, says Fagan, "black children typically wait two to three years longer than white children for adoptive homes."

To fix these and other problems, Fagan suggests a number of reforms. Besides privatizing all adoption services, he urges states to:

  • Remove obstacles to transracial adoptions.
  • Enact a strict, 12-month timeline for working out the long-term parental status of any child in foster care.
  • Separate the responsibility for protecting children from convicted abusive parents from that of preserving parental rights for families that can be helped. "Professionals should not be trapped between simultaneous demands to reunite every family and to protect every child," Fagan says. "When these duties are separated, both goals are better served."
  • Prohibit the removal of a child from foster parents willing to adopt, except when the child is being returned to its legal parents.

Fagan says Congress should:

  • Enact a means-tested, fully refundable, inflation-adjusted tax credit of up to $5,000 to help pay the substantial one-time costs incurred by adopting parents.
  • Require hospitals and clinics receiving federal aid to provide timely and accurate adoption information to all mothers who give birth out of wedlock.
  • Prohibit the use of race or ethnicity to deny or delay placement of a child in foster care or adoption.

"Trillion-Dollar Tax Hike"

The tax burden will rise by more than a trillion dollars over the next five years without Medicare reform, write Heritage analysts Robert Moffit, John Liu, and David Winston.

"The Congressional Budget Office already projects that during the next five years, Medicare Part B, which covers doctors' fees and other services, will need an estimated $370.5 billion in general taxes," they write in a recent report.

On top of that, if Congress resorts to an increase in the payroll tax to save Medicare Part A, the hospitalization program trust fund, this will require an estimated 3.5 percent hike on top of the current level of 2.9 percent, or $711 billion in new revenue over the next five years. "Right now, when you look at the combined level of taxation needed to save Medicare, the amount is almost triple President Clinton's 1993 tax hike, which ranks as the largest in U.S. history."

Heritage on the Web

After just six months on the Internet, The Heritage Foundation's site on the World Wide Web, http://www.heritage.org, has registered more than 200,000 hits. The Heritage site is updated daily and features an extensive library of policy papers, lectures, press releases, and current and back issues of Policy Review. Heritage's public policy research will soon be available on the Microsoft Network's Policy Street.

The Heritage Foundation is one of 14 organizations on Town Hall, http://www.townhall.com, a conservative Internet community. Both The Heritage Foundation and Town Hall were rated among the top 5 percent of all sites on the Internet. To get free Internet access software from Town Hall, call 1-800-441-4142.

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