Did you know that out of the over 400,000 children and teens in foster care in the United States, over 100,000 of them are waiting to be adopted? Right now, there are 292 children in Arkansas whose parents’ parental rights have been terminated and are currently seeking a forever family.
November is National Adoption Month. It is a time to increase awareness of adoption issues, bring attention to the need for adoptive families for teens in the foster care system, and emphasize the value of youth engagement. On November 3, the Arkansas Department of Human Services will be hosting a National Adoption Month Rally at the State Capitol. The event begins at noon.
In the 2021 Regular Session, the General Assembly passed Act 574, which directed the House Committee on Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs, and the Senate Interim Committee on Children and Youth to conduct a study of the best practices for reducing the number of children in foster care. Part of that study includes reviewing the length of time from termination of parental rights to adoption finalization for relative and foster parent adoptions. Significant progress has been made to shorten that time. The committee is scheduled to review a draft of the final report when they meet in November.
While we continue our study and work to reduce the number of children entering the foster care system, we encourage you to explore how your family may be able to help.
Last year, the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) launched the Every Day Counts campaign as a reminder for people that every day these children and teens spend in foster care is a day too long because every day counts!
After the launch of the program, Project Zero took on the challenge to give every waiting child a short film by the end of 2021. Project Zero is a non-profit organization whose mission is to diligently and enthusiastically promote adoption through the foster care system with the ultimate goal of finding a forever family for every child who is waiting. These short films have been a critical piece in finding adoptive families for children in foster care. You can find the films and more information about each child in Project Zero’s Arkansas Heart Gallery at www.theprojectzero.org.