November is National Adoption Month

Iowa KidsNet provides support and resources in Greene County

Iowa KidsNet is proud to join child welfare advocates and families across the country in celebrating November’s National Adoption Month, a time to raise awareness for the more than 107,000 children in the United States who are waiting to be adopted from foster care and to recognize the people who make a difference in their lives.

 “Iowans who serve as foster or adoptive parents can make a lifelong difference for children and teens in out-of-home care,” said Theresa Lewis, project director for Iowa KidsNet. “Every young person deserves to have a permanent connection to a caring adult.”

 Iowa KidsNet is the single statewide contact for Iowans seeking to become foster parents or adopt from foster care. There is an ongoing need for more Iowans to serve their communities in this way, especially for those willing to foster or adopt teens, sibling groups and children with special needs or behaviors. There is also a need for more African American and Latino families to become foster or adoptive parents.

According to the Iowa Department of Human Services, as of Aug. 31, 2015, there were 798 children in Iowa who were legally eligible for adoption, meaning their parental rights have been terminated. These children and teens are currently placed in settings such as pre-adoptive homes, foster family homes, relative care or a non-family setting such as residential treatment, supervised apartment living or shelter care.

The need to establish permanent connections is especially urgent for older youth, said Lewis, whose family adopted a teenage boy from foster care in 2014. More than 23,000 teenagers turn 18 and age out of foster care each year without permanent family connections, and they need support to make a successful transition to adulthood.

“National Adoption Month reminds us that everyone, no matter their age, deserves and needs a family,” Lewis said. “Young people aging out of foster care deserve a home to visit during holidays and a caring person they can call upon when they need a listening ear. Many 18-year-olds need a parent’s guidance when it comes to navigating personal finance, obtaining healthcare or renting an apartment. These are all ordinary ways foster and adoptive parents can make an extraordinary difference.”

In all Iowa counties, Iowa KidsNet provides post-adoption support to families who have adopted a child through the Iowa Department of Human Services. To learn more about becoming an Iowa foster parent or adopting from foster care in Iowa, attend a local information session. Learn more and see upcoming dates at www.IowaKidsNet.com.

Iowa KidsNet is a statewide collaboration of agencies that utilizes a unique, cohesive approach to provide recruitment, training, licensing and continued support to individuals who wish to become foster and adoptive parents. Iowa KidsNet is a partnership of six Iowa social service agencies, including Four Oaks, Children’s Square USA, Family Resources, Lutheran Services in Iowa, Quakerdale and Youth and Shelter Services. For more information, call 1-800-243-0756 or visit www.iowakidsnet.com.

 

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