Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
National Adoption Day: Washington courts will join children to new families while DSHS announces record number of foster adoptions this yearNovember 12, 2009
Ten-year-old Michelle finding her ‘forever’ family after living in five foster homes… 2-year-old Lisa banging the judges’ gavel during her adoption hearing while her new mother cries… Five children taking turns each day tearing a link off a paper chain to mark being one day closer to their adoption hearing….
These are among more than 500 foster children who have found new parents and homes during National Adoption Day events in Washington courts in the past four years, and more will be joining them this month, with the media and public invited to join in these unique family celebrations.
More than 175 children are scheduled to be adopted during special events in Washington courts during the third week in November as the state marks its fifth statewide National Adoption Day celebration (see attached for list of events). Although adoption hearings are generally closed, these events provide a rare opportunity for the public and media to be present as new families are being formed and learn more about adoption of foster children.
“It is a joy to have these children find the safety and warmth of loving, forever families,” said Denise Revels Robinson, Assistant Secretary of the DSHS Children’s Administration. “For the children and their new families, this is a day they will never forget. The many social workers and child advocates across the state cherish this special day along with the families, and hope it will inspire others to consider opening their hearts and homes to children.”
In addition to celebrating foster adoptions during National Adoption Day, the Children’s Administration announced that a record number of Washington foster children were adopted into new families in Fiscal Year 2009 (July 2008 through June 2009). While normally about 1,100 – 1,200 foster children are adopted each year (with 1,177 adopted in FY 2008), in FY 2009 there were 1,701 Washington foster children adopted into new families.
“This record number of adoptions is wonderful news, and demonstrates the dedication and hard work of the Children’s Administration staff and child welfare and court workers throughout the state,” said retired Supreme Court Justice Bobbe Bridge, founder and co-chair of the Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care. Robinson also co-chairs the Commission.
“Foster children are in our care and we owe them a special responsibility,” Bridge said. “We know that finding permanent, loving homes for these children can save them years of stress, uncertainty and personal struggles.”
As of January 1, 2009, there were 9,546 children living in foster care in Washington, with more than 1,750 of those available for adoption — meaning the courts had permanently terminated their biological parents’ rights to raise them.
Washington courts and DSHS Children’s Administration offices began celebrating National Adoption Day in 2005 when it was first sponsored by the Washington State Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care. The event continues to grow into more courts and communities each year. Nationally, NAD was founded in 2000 by a coalition of child welfare agencies and businesses to raise awareness of the many thousands of foster children in the U.S. available for adoption and waiting for new families.
CONTACT: Retired Justice Bobbe Bridge, co-chair, Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care, (206) 696-7503; DSHS Children’s Administration Assistant Secretary Denise Revels Robinson, (360) 902-7892; King County Superior Court Judge Dean Lum, chair, Washington State National Adoption Day Steering Committee, (206) 296-9295, email@example.com; Pam Kramer, DSHS Children’s Administration Adoption Program Manager, (360) 902-7968.
National Adoption Day
November 18-21, 2009
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