A well-known advocate for women and children, it would then make sense that Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton would have an equally strong stance on the family. While her opinions are clear on some topics, however, they are often muddled elsewhere. Where she stands in firm support of “full federal equality for all LGBT Americans” on her campaign website, she has no conclusive comment on the adoption process for same-sex couples. Where she pushes paid family leave she also remains quiet on whether or not that will affect non-traditional families or families going through the adoption process. Ultimately, here’s what we do know:
Her Political Career
According to On the Issues, it can be said that Hillary dedicated much of her career to being an effective advocate for parents and children. From her first job out of law school at the Children’s Defense Fund to her time devoted to childcare as the First Lady of Arkansas to appointing the first-ever special adviser on international children’s issues as Secretary of State, helping children has been at the center of Hillary’s public life.
Children’s Defense Fund
In an article for Adoption.com, Denalee Chapman wrote about Hillary Clinton’s work with the Children’s Defense Fund, saying: “The organization, whose aim is to end child poverty, focuses on giving every child a ‘healthy start, a head start, a fair start, a safe start, and a moral start in life and a successful passage into adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.’”
Adoption and Safe Families Act
Signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 19, 1997, the act was one that the Washington Post deemed "the most significant change in federal child-protection policy in almost two decades." Discussed in an article by Ann F. Lewis, it becomes apparent that, partnered with Republican Minority Whip Tom Delay of Texas and business leader Dave Thomas of Wendy's, she worked to raise awareness at the White
House while also building support for legislation that would encourage adoptions, provide more aid for foster families, and help foster children find permanent, safe, loving homes.
Federal Adoption Assistance Program
A program legislated by the Adoption and Safe Families Act; the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) truly proved to provide incredible support and service for adoptive families, which increased foster adoptions by 64 percent between 1997 and 2002. Interestingly too, an article for the Daily Kos says that an additional benefit to the AAP was that it expanded both adoptions and federal assistance in general to a wider population of Americans including single adults, lesbians, and gay men, and even single elderly people – people who are usually left out of family-focused agenda.
Foster Care Independence Act of 1999
Close on the heels of the Adoption and Safe Families Act, the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 was a continuation, or a correction, of the former. It was intended to ease the transition into adulthood for foster children who did not get adopted and aged out of the system.
Ultimately, the Daily Kos says it best: “The facts are that without Hillary then, or now, there would be no AAP and that’s of tangible importance to millions of kids, parents, and social workers and everyone involved with adoptions.” So it’s true. Complicated, but true. Where some things might be muddled, the fact that Hillary Clinton cares about America’s children – adopted, in the foster care system, or with biological parents – is on the verge of indisputable.