Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Florida Sets Record In Adopted Children
Governor Charlie Crist has announced that more than 12,000 Florida children in foster care have been adopted since 2007, including 3,368 children adopted in the past year. Florida's recent success reduces the number of Florida children in foster care by nearly 36 percent since 2007.
In 2009, Florida was awarded a $9.7 million federal bonus for outpacing all other states in the number of adoptions of children from foster care. Florida set adoption records adoptions in fiscal year 2007-08 with 3,674, and in fiscal year 2008-09, with 3,777.
Florida's leadership position among the states in adoption of children from foster care is a result of the combined efforts of the Explore Adoption public awareness campaign through the Governor's Office of Adoption and Child Protection, the Florida Department of Children and Families, 20 community-based care agencies and other local partners that include Heart Galleries across the state.
A key to Florida's success, in December 2008, the Department of Children and Families established the "Longest Waiting Teens" list, which identified 103 teenagers and their siblings awaiting a permanent home. To date, 38 teens have been adopted and 14 have transitioned out of foster care upon turning 18. Efforts continue to find loving, permanent families for 48 youth on the list who remain without an adoptive family.
The Explore Adoption campaign promotes the benefits of public adoption in Florida through public education, partnerships, Web-based outreach and a mass media campaign. Explore Adoption educates Florida's citizens about the benefits of public adoption, including:
· Costs little or nothing. Compared to many private adoptions, which can cost $20,000 or more, virtually all costs to adopt a child from the public system the home study, attorneys' fees, court costs and training are borne by the state.
· Is very secure. Children are not made available for public adoption until a judge has terminated their birth parents' rights.
· Provides financial supports. Children adopted through the public system qualify for free health care until they turn 18, free college tuition at any state university, community college or trade school, and may qualify for monthly financial assistance, depending on the child's needs.
· Provides an opportunity to get to know a child. Prospective parents can search for a child who matches their interests through a searchable database on www.adoptflorida.org. Prospective parents can then meet and get to know a child to make sure it's a good match for all.
· Can be speedy. The entire process from orientation, training, background checks, and home study to getting matched with a child or children can often be accomplished in about nine months.