State child welfare systems are moving children from foster care to permanency faster and in greater numbers than ever. At the same time, we recognize that these systems struggle to achieve positive outcomes for the children in their care who have complex social-emotional, behavioral and mental health problems. Children in foster care represent only three percent of children covered by Medicaid, yet, based on a study of pharmacy claims in 16 States, foster children enrolled in Medicaid were prescribed antipsychotic medications at nearly nine times the rate of other children receiving Medicaid. While medications can be an important component of treatment, strengthened oversight of psychotropic medication use is necessary in order to responsibly and effectively attend to the clinical needs of children who have experienced maltreatment.
Today we celebrate the adoption of Lucas, a teen whose dream came true when his foster parents, Nancy and David, adopted him this year!
Lucas was featured on Wednesday’s Child Philadelphia in 2008 and then again a year later. Wednesday’s Child Philadelphia, sponsored by the Freddie Mac Foundation, is a weekly child feature on NBC10 with former Philadelphia Eagle, Vai Sikahema.
Starting the journey to be only foster parents, Nancy and David welcomed Lucas into their home when Lucas was seven years old. They prayed he would find a home and agreed to have him until that goal became a reality. Seven years later, Lucas still had no permanent home.
In 2011, Nancy and David realized that their home was Lucas’ home and made it official in court! Lucas says he is still getting used to calling them mom and dad and corrects himself when he calls them by their names.
Vai met up with Lucas’ family to hear more about their great story. Lucas says he is so happy they adopted him. Nancy and David say they have been blessed to be the lucky couple to have Lucas permanently in their lives. Diagnosed with mild mental retardation, Lucas is for the first time in a regular education class. He is doing well and has many friends.
When Vai asked what their favorite family activity was, they all said simply playing cards and spending time together. So they pulled out a pack of Skip-Bo cards and Vai quickly saw why they liked that activity. The four shared laughs and stories and had a great time.
The Wednesday’s Child program, sponsored by the Freddie Mac Foundation, is a great recruitment tool. In fact, over 62% of the children featured on Wednesday Child Philadelphia now have a permanent home.
The September issue of Children and Youth Services Review provides a qualitative study of nine families going through the foster care adoption process; three of them have already dropped out. Researchers noted the factors that support completion: a caring, competent social worker; supportive family and friends; involvement in counselling or parent-support activities. They also identified hindering factors including poor worker performance; the time-consuming and daunting nature of the process; and matching parameters that were too rigid. They also found that families needed to hear from workers often during the long waiting process.
The research recommends rethinking the manner in which agencies match children by having prospective parents check criteria they would accept or not accept and presenting only children who exactly match those criteria. Do you believe these suggestions will help expedite the process?
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption released a new report outlining their 5-year rigorous, evidence-based evaluation and research, about their Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program (a child-focused recruitment model). DTFA's signature program, Wendy's Wonderful Kids (WWK), provides local adoption agencies (including us at the National Adoption Center) with grants to hire dedicated adoption recruiters who spend 100 percent of their job focused on finding waiting children forever homes.
The National Adoption Center (NAC) is thrilled to hear of this development and can attest to rising interest in adoption by the LGBT community. During our most recent adoption match party in New Jersey, 50% of the families who attended were same-sex couples. Growing public acceptance of LGBT family life, coupled with more favorable legislation, as well the presence of more LGBT friendly adoption agencies all help to play a part in the growing interest of adoption by gay men and lesbians.
In addition to match parties, NAC offers resources and services for the LGBT community. This includes our LGBT Adoption Cafés where we present the basics of adoption, provide representatives from LGBT friendly adoption agencies, as well as feature a lively panel discussion with real adoption professionals and adoptive LGBT parents. We also have our online service, AdoptMatch, where adoption agencies profile themselves and potential adopters match themselves with agencies that are the “best fit” for them.
We are encouraged by the increased rate of LGBT adoptions and stand ready to be a resource for prospective families no matter what their sexual orientation.
To see the full report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, click the link below:
In 1955, unmarried graduate students Abdulfattah John Jandali and Joanne Carole Schieble gave their child up for adoption. Schieble hoped her baby would be given a better future.
This child was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs, and grew up to become the legendary Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple, Inc.
On October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs left behind a remarkable legacy, and a world that will mourn his loss for years to come. Often compared to Thomas Edison for the caliber of his inventions, Steve Jobs was a visionary, and most recently named “Most Influential Man of the Year” byAskMen.
Stubbornly private in nature, Steve Jobs rarely mentioned his adoption. However, he was always quick to point out that his adopted parents werehis parents. When asked by the New York Times what he would like to pass on to his children, Steve Jobs responded, "Just to try to be as good a father to them as my father was to me. I think about that every day."
In a 60 Minutes interview, Jobs remembered an interaction that many adoptees go through. When a childhood friend found out he was adopted, she asked,
“So does that mean your real parents didn’t want you?” Ooooh, lightning bolts went off in my head. I remember running into the house, I think I was (sic) crying, asking my parents. And they sat me down and they said, “No, you don’t understand. We specifically picked you out.” He said, “From then on, I realized that I was not just abandoned. I was chosen. I was special.”
In his 20s, Jobs conducted a search to find his biological family. Through that search, he found his biological sister, Mona Simpson. As the years progressed, he became closer to his sister, often displaying the books she authored in his office, and calling her frequently.
Adopted children come in all shapes and sizes, both young and old. And through adoption, foster children are given the opportunity to flourish and grow, and become part of a family that can love and support them. The Center understands that families are created through love, support and care. As an adoptee, and speaking for the Center, we believe that “There are no unwanted children, just unfound families”™.
contributed by intern, Abbigail Facey
this post was written by our MSW Intern, Liz Mehaffey
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services recently stopped referring foster care and adoption cases to Catholic charitable groups and said it is planning to move all existing cases to other agencies. The action stems from a clash between Catholic doctrine and the state's new law granting the right for same-sex couples to seek civil unions. Catholic agencies have refused to license same-sex couples in civil unions as foster parents — a position state officials say is a deal breaker. The National Adoption Center fully supports the actions taken by Illinois as there should be no impediments to finding secure, loving homes for children in foster care. Where do you stand?