President Clinton is supporting the House Republicans' plan to give a $5,000 tax credit to many families that adopt a child.
In flush times, such a middle-class subsidy might make sense.But today the government would do much better to use tax dollars to help families that adopt children who are otherwise unlikely to find a permanent home.
Few healthy infants of any race "languish" in foster care. Most are adopted straight from the hospital. So few healthy American infants are available that prospective adoptive parents frequently go abroad to find a child.
With infertility on the rise, we don't need tax incentives to encourage people to adopt healthy infants.
But there are 21,000 children with special needs waiting to be adopted, and about 65,000 more are in the care of welfare agencies and awaiting legal clearance to be made available. Most have been placed in foster care because of parental neglect and abuse.