Anyone who knows me, friend or foe, will tell you that one of my great passions in life is children. They represent the best in all of us and our best hope for the future. All my life I have pursued policies to ensure that all children, no matter what the circumstances of their birth, are treasured and nurtured. Whether it is a baby born with AIDS and addicted to crack, or my own wonderful grandchildren, I want to do everything in my power to make sure that every child grows up in a loving, caring, stable, and safe environment. Today, sadly, children in America are in more danger than ever. Poverty, crime, and substance abuse are tearing families apart. The number of children in the foster care system has exploded from 276,000 in 1986 to 450,000 in 1992. Children are entering foster care at a younger age in record numbers, and are staying in the system for longer periods of time. The government's goal for most children in foster care should be reunification with their families. We must also increase the funding for programs that prevent the breakup of families in the first place and help them to stay together once they are reunited. However, family reunification is not always possible or appropriate. As a result, thousands of children of all races and colors are presently waiting to be adopted in America. The vast majority are living in foster care homes, some of which are good, some ...

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