Health and Family Services Cabinet
Governor Beshear Proclaims November Adoption Awareness Month; More families needed to care for waiting children
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) – Governor Steve Beshear has proclaimed November as Adoption Awareness Month in Kentucky, and the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) is thanking adoptive parents and reminding the public of the great need for more adoptive homes.
Gov. Beshear praised families who have opened their hearts and their homes to adoption.
“I have a great appreciation for your dedication to the vulnerable children who needed a family to love and guide them,” he said. “You have contributed so much to the state’s adoption services not just as parents, but as true partners.”
DCBS, part of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), coordinates the state’s adoption program.
CHFS Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes said the adoptive parents have answered the call to serve the state’s vulnerable children and deserve praise.
“Adoptive families have made a lifelong connection with their children,” she said. “We celebrate the difference they have made, and the example they set for parents who also may be interested in adoption.”
Nearly 7,730 Kentucky children are in out-of-home care and cannot be reunited with their families because of abuse, neglect or other safety and welfare issues. More than 743 of those children are legally free for adoption now and are waiting for a family.
The need for adoptive parents grows annually, DCBS Commissioner Teresa James said.
“It’s a life-changing experience when a child can no longer safely be with his or her birth family,” she said. “Adoption can be bittersweet. But the compassion and commitment of so many adoptive parents show that caring adults can absolutely help turn around a child’s life.”
James said that adoptive families get significant support through benefits, training and mentoring services. Families also can specify to caseworkers the kinds of needs they would be prepared to handle for one or more children.
“Adoption brings so many rewards, but when there are questions or challenges, parents can just pick up the phone to find a voice of experience or a helping hand,” she said. “We make it a priority to assure potential adoptive families that they never have to be on their own.”
About 85 percent of all state adoptions are by families who participate as a foster parent first, James said.
Many of the children waiting to be adopted may be considered harder to place because they are part of sibling groups, teenagers or have special health needs.
James said DCBS has long partnered with AdoptUSKids, a project of the U.S. Children's Bureau that launched in 2002, to promote the need for more families.
AdoptUSKids has recently launched new entries in its national public awareness media campaign, featuring the theme, “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.” Kentucky-specific contact information will be included in the TV and radio spots that will run throughout the state and illustrate to prospective parents that children and teens don’t need perfection, they need the commitment and love an adoptive family can provide.
AdoptUSKids also maintains a national online photo listing that provides states with more opportunities to connect waiting children and youth with adoptive families.
James said the national efforts bolster DCBS’ own diligent recruitment efforts, including traveling portrait galleries of waiting children, an online photo listing and featured displays at public events like the Kentucky State Fair.
“We spread the word about the need for adoption in so many ways to try to reach the most potential parents,” she said. “When we can make that match of a child to the right home, we see the beginning of a ‘forever family,’ and it is a wonderful thing.”
To learn more about adoption, log on to www.chfs.ky.gov/snap or call the cabinet at (800) 432-9346 to request an information packet.
Learn more about the AdoptUSKids public awareness campaign at http://www.adoptuskids.org/for-the-media/help-raise-public-awareness.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state’s human services and health care programs, including Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Services and the Department for Public Health. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full and part-time employees throughout the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.