Thursday, May 31, 2007

Only 7,103 adopted out of 54,000 California foster children waiting for adoption

State lawmakers need to aid foster system
Roseville Press Tribune, May 30, 2007.

As the Executive Director of Lilliput Children's Services, a Northern California nonprofit foster family and adoption agency, I write to bring awareness to an urgent, pressing need in our community and state.

Last year, 7,103 foster children were adopted out of the 54,000 California foster children who are waiting for adoption. We know every child who emancipates out of foster care without an adoptive family is at a significantly higher risk of becoming homeless, victimized, incarcerated and addicted to drugs/alcohol. Often, their own children become dependents of our foster care system.

Children who otherwise could be adopted remain in our foster care system in part because the state funding stream that enables agencies to recruit, train and support the families who want to adopt children has not been increased since 1999.

Agencies don't have the financial resources to do the work that needs to be done to ensure positive outcomes for these children. Our elected officials can resolve many of these problems by making this a funding priority.

Our state Legislature is now considering an augmentation to the Private Adoption Agency Reimbursement Program (PAARP) - proven to be the most effective program in connecting a foster child with a family who wants to adopt them. The time is now to fund the adoptions of children who are in foster care due to abuse, abandonment or neglect.

Karen Alvord, LCSW
Executive Director
Lilliput Children's Services
1651 Response Road, Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95815