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Study Finds Recruiting Adoptive Families a Top Barrier to Finding Permanent Homes for

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  • Study Finds Recruiting Adoptive Families a Top Barrier to Finding Permanent Homes for

    Unprecedented New Study Finds Recruiting Adoptive Families a Top Barrier to
    Finding Permanent Homes for Children in Foster Care

    Data Also Indicate Commitment to Improving Child Welfare Case

    Management in Majority of States in the United States

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- A study released today provides an
    unprecedented analysis of adoption from foster care in all 50 states and the
    District of Columbia. Foster Care Adoption in the United States: A State by
    State Analysis of Barriers and Promising Practices is the first research report
    to identify common barriers, as well as promising practices, to foster care
    adoption in the United States. The study, conducted by the Urban Institute and
    commissioned by the National Adoption Day coalition, was released today in
    recognition of National Adoption Day -- Saturday, November 20th.

    The analysis was conducted utilizing the Child and Family Services Reviews
    (CFSRs) mandated by Congress to help states evaluate the services they provide
    to children through their state government agencies. It identifies the top
    barriers and the top promising approaches identified by states in the foster
    care adoption process. The report also includes an analysis of barriers and
    promising approaches in each state as well as a comparison across all 50 states
    and the District of Columbia.

    More than 90 percent of states report difficulty in identifying adoptive
    families for children currently in foster care. Specifically, many states
    report difficulty in finding families for older children, those with special
    needs, and Hispanic and African American children. The number of children of
    color in the foster care system is disproportionately high and states report
    difficulty in identifying families that reflect the racial and ethnic diversity
    of the children in their systems.

    "This study provides us with a tremendous opportunity to better understand the
    obstacles and opportunities states face in finding loving, adoptive homes for
    children in foster care," said Maxine B. Baker, President and CEO, Freddie Mac
    Foundation. "We are encouraged that so many states are making progress in
    ensuring that thousands of children find the forever families that they need
    and deserve. And now that we have identified some of the common barriers facing
    states, we can focus our efforts on developing promising approaches to overcome
    these barriers."

    The study also identified several areas in which states are making progress in
    improving their foster care adoption processes. 88 percent of states are
    working to improve child welfare case management and have identified promising
    practices such as reorganizing staff, creating specialized adoption units and
    positions, and providing additional training on adoption.

    A majority of states (75 percent) report taking steps to improve the process
    for identifying and approving adoptive homes and families. For example, many
    states have implemented a dual-licensing program for foster and adoptive
    parents so that foster parents who ultimately decide to adopt do not have to go
    through a second approval process.

    Based upon the research, the National Adoption Day coalition has issued
    recommendations for further improving the foster care adoption process. To
    address the common barriers identified in the study, the Coalition recommends
    stronger national leadership and a more active role for the federal government.
    Specific recommendations include: direct future adoption opportunities grants
    toward addressing identified barriers, use the National Child Welfare Resource
    Centers to provide technical assistance, focus attention on coordination
    between the child welfare agency and courts, ensure workforce issues a place on
    the national and state agenda for improvement, encourage peer-to-peer learning
    between states.

    The research comes in advance of National Adoption Day 2004 -- Saturday,
    November 20th. On National Adoption Day, an unprecedented number of courts from
    coast to coast will open their doors to finalize the adoptions of thousands of
    children from foster care and to celebrate all families that adopt. Thousands
    of children, parents, judges, adoption professionals, volunteer lawyers and
    child advocates in communities across the country will come together to
    finalize adoptions and encourage more people to give children permanent
    families through adoption.

    "We are proud that National Adoption Day has grown tremendously over the past
    four years, and this Saturday marks another milestone -- a day on which
    thousands more children will become part of permanent, loving families," said
    Rita Soronen, Executive Director of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
    "By commissioning this research this year, we wanted to shine a light on some
    of the barriers that states face in helping children find permanent families,
    as well as the promising approaches that states are using to address these
    barriers. It is our hope that with this new research, states can learn from
    each other, and policymakers, advocates and agencies can better understand
    where the obstacles and solutions lie."

    According to the most recent data available, there are approximately 532,000
    foster care children in the United States, and 129,000 of them are available
    for adoption. Since 1987, the number of children in foster care has nearly
    doubled, and the average time a child remains in foster care has lengthened to
    nearly three years. Each year, approximately 20,000 children in foster care
    will age out of the system without ever being placed with a permanent family.

    National Adoption Day events are sponsored by a coalition dedicated to
    improving the lives of children, including The Alliance for Children's Rights,
    Casey Family Services, Children's Action Network, The Congressional Coalition
    on Adoption Institute, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Freddie Mac
    Foundation and Target Corporation.

    To access the full report, please visit the National Adoption Day Web site at: or the Urban Institute
    Web site at:

    National Adoption Day Sponsors:

    The Alliance for Children's Rights -- The Alliance for Children's Rights is Los
    Angeles' only free legal services organization devoted solely to helping
    children living in poverty and foster care. The Alliance's mission is to ensure
    children get the support and services they need to become healthy, productive

    Casey Family Services -- Casey Family Services is the direct service arm of the
    Annie E. Casey Foundation, the nation's largest private children's foundation,
    started by United Parcel Service founder Jim Casey. Casey Family Services has
    worked with foster and adoptive families for nearly 30 years and is dedicated
    to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children here in the United

    Children's Action Network -- Formed in 1990 by leaders in the entertainment
    industry, the Children's Action Network (CAN) is dedicated to improving the
    lives of America's children. Through extensive public education campaigns,
    community-based programs and policy initiatives, CAN uses the power of the
    entertainment community to increase awareness about children's issues and to
    make them a top priority in everyday life.

    Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute -- CCAI is a not-for-profit
    organization dedicated to raising awareness of the tens of thousands of foster
    care children in this country and the millions of orphans around the world.
    CCAI strives to accomplish its mission by serving as an informational and
    educational resource to policymakers and works in collaboration with the
    Congressional Coalition on Adoption, which is a bicameral, bipartisan caucus,
    with more the 180 Members of Congress.

    Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption(R) -- Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's(R)
    Old Fashioned Hamburgers Restaurants, established the Dave Thomas Foundation
    for Adoption in 1992 to help the thousands of children throughout the United
    States and Canada who are waiting to be adopted from foster care.

    Freddie Mac Foundation -- Created by Freddie Mac in 1991, the Freddie Mac
    Foundation is dedicated to opening the doors to hope and opportunity to
    children and their families. The Freddie Mac Foundation focuses on
    strengthening families by preventing child abuse and neglect, helping find
    foster children adoptive homes, and developing youth. As the largest corporate
    funder in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Freddie Mac and the Freddie
    Mac Foundation have invested more than $217 million in nonprofit organizations
    serving children and families.

    Target Corporation -- Minneapolis-based Target Stores, along with its parent
    company Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), gives back more than $2 million a week
    to its local communities through grants and special programs. On a national
    level, Target is committed to raising awareness about adoption and sponsors
    several initiatives, including National Adoption Day and the annual Angels in
    Adoption Award ceremony in Washington, D.C.

    SOURCE National Adoption Day Coalition

    CO: National Adoption Day Coalition; Target Corporation; Freddie Mac
    Foundation; Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption; Congressional Coalition
    on Adoption Institute; CCAI; Children's Action Network; Casey Family
    Services; Alliance for Children's Rights

    ST: District of Columbia


    Web site:

    mom to Juliette, 8, adopted from China
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