North Carolina adoption program expands to find homes for older children
GREENSBORO - Children's Home Society of North Carolina is announcing an expansion of a statewide program to find permanent homes for older children in foster care during National Adoption Month.
Children's Home Society will also be providing the expanded child-focused recruitment program at no cost to county social services agencies across North Carolina. This is done in partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Wendy's Wonderful Kids and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Social Services.
"Older youth who are adopted are more likely to finish high school, go to college, be employed and lead more stable lives than those who age out of foster care with no permanent family," Sharon Barlow, Director of the Division of Children's Services in Guilford County, said. "We know that being connected to a family makes a life-long difference."
"I don't want to be in foster care until I'm 18," 15-year-old Nick said. He has been in foster care for 10 years.
Nick is a big fan of sports, camping and fishing. He dreams of becoming a mechanic and designing cars when he grows up. He is described as a "sincere, determined and polite boy" who liked to go to the YMCA, the library and church.
"Expanding the Wendy's Wonderful Kids program and using its child-focused recruitment model means more children like Nick will leave foster care faster and find safe, loving and permanent families," Rebecca Starnes, Vice President of Children's Home Society of North Carolina, said. "Compared to one year ago, we are nearly tripling the size of this program from 13 to 35 caseworkers."
A Child Trends independent study said children in foster care were up to three times more likely to be adopted when using the Wendy's Wonderful Kids child-focused recruitment program. The study compared the program's adoption rates to children receiving traditional adoption services from community and public agencies.
"The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is driven by a single goal -- finding a loving and permanent family for every child waiting to be adopted from foster care," Rita Soronen, President and CEO of the Foundation, said. "We have a successful and growing relationship with Children's Home Society of North Carolina, who shares our core value of assuring a home for every child in need."
Wendy's Wonderful Kids serves he children who have been in foster care the longest. Most are older than eight, more than one-third have been in six or more foster homes and about half have been in foster care for more than four years, officials said in a press release.
"These children are just like any other child," Soronen said. "They've simply had a rough start in life."
"On any given day there are thousands of children in need of families in North Carolina," Starnes said. "Individuals or families interested in adopting Nick, siblings or another child should call Children's Home Society. We will guide parents-to-be through the adoption process."
Informational programs for adoptive parents and foster parents are held every month in cities across the state, officials said.
In November, meetings will occur in Asheville, Belmont, Burlington, Charlotte, Elizabeth City, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Lenoir, Morganton, Wilmington, Winston-Salem, Durham County and Wake County.
There are many ways to help youth in foster care. Officials say you can make a positive difference by contributing time, goods or services, or by giving to the annual Little Red Stocking Fund for the holidays.
If you are interested in adopting Nick or children like him, call Children's Home Society at 800-632-1400.