We All Need To Help Fix A Broken System

Adoption STAR’s long standing belief is that all children must have a permanent family. It would be wonderful if the family you went home with after you are born, whether it be your birth family or adoptive family could be considered your forever family. But for many children, they are not so lucky.

Annually different states announce initiatives to reduce the number of children in foster care and to reduce the length of time they stay in the system.

The implementation of parenting education and better intake techniques certainly can assist with this endeavor, but the bottom line is that we need to a better job with “time.” The time it takes to have a child become eligible for adoption must be reduced and once they become freed for adoption then an intensive commitment must be made to secure an adoptive home.

With continued budget cuts, our children, especially those in the system, suffer the most. Each day without a permanent family increases their chances of remaining without permanency.

“Larissa” spent her entire life in foster care, in and out of foster homes and group homes. She learned to keep her head down and stay out of trouble. She surprisingly succeeded on her own but states she has always felt like an orphan.

“Steven” entered foster care at age 7 and at age 21 he has already experienced time in jail. He recalls developing strong bonds with some of the social workers he was assigned to while in foster care only to learn they changed jobs or retired. He still wonders why nobody adopted him.

Today there are countless children in need of forever families. We ALL need to be responsible and assist in whatever way we can to promote a society that sees children first and works together to implement policies and procedures that allows for children in need of permanency an immediate and forever family.

The New York State Citizen’s Coalition for Children states: Of the 21,933 children in NYS foster care, 6,407 have a goal of adoption, and 1,146 are legally freed and waiting for an adoptive family. New York’s children waiting for families are a diverse group, primarily 48% African-American, 21% Hispanic, and 20% White. Few are three years old or younger; many are between the ages of 6 and 13; and over one third are ages 14 and over. Several have physical, mental, or emotional challenges and disabilities; or belong to sibling groups who need to be adopted together. All of the children waiting in care have experienced some neglect and/or abuse in their lives. They need the stability and unconditional love of a family so that they can learn to trust… and to ride bikes, make cookies, read, play basketball and dance!

Maybe you can be that forever family a child is waiting for?

Read More on What is Happening at Adoption STAR: Our Calendar of Events for 2013