WEST PALM BEACH — Sixteen children joined 11 families in Palm Beach County on Nov. 1 as National Adoption Month kicked off with a celebration.
The “30 Days of Amazing Children: Explore Adoption!” campaign takes place each November. A newly redesigned website at adoptflorida.com highlights a different amazing child or sibling group in foster care each day of the month with photos and videos.
The children most in need of homes are teens, sibling groups and children with special needs whose biggest dream is to be part of a permanent, loving family.
“Finding loving homes for children in foster care gives these children the chance they deserve to grow up happy, healthy and successful,” said Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins. “I hope these wonderful successes continue around the state this month and year-round.”
Last year, 3,250 children were adopted from Florida’s foster care system. That was the fifth year in a row that more than 3,000 children were adopted from foster care, bringing the total to more than 17,000.
Over the past two years, Florida has significantly reduced the number of children in foster care available for adoption without an identified family.
COST AND BENEFIT
Florida’s children come into foster care through no fault of their own but because they were abused, neglected or abandoned. They come from varied backgrounds, circumstances, races and ethnicities. While some have specific medical, physical or emotional issues that require special care, many do not.
Their life histories are shared with prospective adoptive parents.
Officials emphasize that while private adoption can cost more than $30,000, adopting one of Florida’s children in foster care costs little or nothing.
The benefits include a monthly adoption subsidy for the family, health benefits for the child, and free college tuition at a Florida public university, community college or vocational school. In addition, families may be eligible for the federal adoption tax credit of $13,360 per child.
“Florida is a national model for successful adoption from foster care, but there is more work to be done,” said Florida’s Chief Child Advocate Zack Gibson, Director of the Governor’s Office of Adoption and Child Protection. “There are about 750 children still out there waiting to find a permanent family and I want to encourage everyone to explore the idea of adoption. You could provide the home a child or sibling group needs.”
Dozens of adoption celebrations and finalization ceremonies are being held throughout Florida during the month.
For more information about those events, the initiative or general questions about adoption of foster children in Florida, visit adoptflorida.org, call 1-800-
962-3678 (1-800-96-ADOPT), or check the @ExploreAdoption Twitter feed.