Crenshaw County DHR encourages new adoptive families

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 21, 2007

and foster parents

Special to The Journal

According to the Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families (ACF), approximately 300,000 children in the United States enter the foster care system each year.

Of those children, 40% never return to their parents.

There are an estimated 118,000 children nationwide that are eligible for adoption, looking for a home where they will be loved and be happy.

In Alabama, as of 2-28-07, there are 274 children who are legally available and waiting for their &#8220forever family” to be identified.

Of this number, 61% are male and 39% are female.

Alabama's waiting children include 47% white, 50% black, and 3% other (Hispanic, Pacific Islander, etc.).

The biggest adoption need is for sibling groups and children ages nine or older.

Most people are hesitant to adopt or foster older children because they fear the potential behavioral problems of the older children.

Most of these children, regardless of age, race or background, are longing for stability and crave a family of their own.

Some people hold back because they are fearful of the cost that comes with most private adoptions.

When adopting from the foster care system, there are little or no costs involved, and eligible families can receive assistance from various subsidies.

A board payment is made monthly for foster children.

Many times the concerns expressed by those considering adoption are minor held against the fear and uncertainty that these children waiting on a permanent home feel.

According to the same report from ACF, each year about 19,000 children &#8220age-out” of the foster care system simply by reaching an age of independence prior to ever being placed with a permanent family.

Research shows that children who exit foster care without placement in a permanent family are more likely to drop out of school, experience unemployment, use drugs, and they are at a greater risk for a future that includes homelessness, imprisonment and reliance on welfare.

Many of these children develop issues with trust and attachment.

Others are labeled as &#8220difficult” when often the behavior is typical of any adolescent or teen.

However, this does not have to be their reality.

These teens are able to love and be loved, and they have a great need for a permanent, nurturing home.

The website features pictures and profiles of children available for adoption.

It also works to help families connect with waiting children across the country.

Already, more than 6,000 children featured on the site have been placed with permanent families.

For more information on how you could be an adoptive or foster parent, contact Families 4 Alabama's Kids at 1-866-4AL-Kids or 1-866-425-5437.

Or you may contact the Crenshaw County Department of Human Resources at 335-7000. You can also see some of the Alabama children waiting for their &#8220forever family” by visiting and clicking on the &#8220Adoptions and Alabama's Waiting Children” link.

Make your choice today to live life larger than yourself by expanding your life as an adoptive or foster family.