LANSING, Mich. – As the state celebrates Adoption Month, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is preparing to kick off two new projects to find adoptive homes more quickly for children in foster care who can’t safely return home.
One initiative, which begins in November, assigns 21 child welfare staff from MDHHS called permanency resource monitors to remove barriers to finalizing pending adoptions that have been on hold more than six months. Barriers such as concerns about the child’s behavior and incomplete documents can delay adoptions even when a family has been identified.
The second initiative is being planned for mid-2020. MDHHS is working with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, which pays for recruiters to help find loving adoptive homes for children in foster care. Research has shown the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids model to be more effective at serving children who have been in foster care the longest – including teenagers, sibling groups and children with special needs.
“Every child deserves the opportunity to have a loving, permanent home,” said JooYeun Chang, executive director of the MDHHS Children’s Services Agency. “MDHHS is committed to finding families for all children who are legally free for adoption – and doing this in a timely fashion. Our staff and partners will continue to work together to better accomplish these goals that are so important for our children and families.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared November to be Adoption Month in Michigan. Courts statewide, in partnership with MDHHS, hold special Adoption Month ceremonies this month at which children officially become permanent members of their new forever families. Included is a Nov. 26 event at the Michigan Supreme Court Hall of Justice in Lansing. A list of Adoption Day events and profiles of adoptive families can be found on the Michigan Adoption Resource exchange Adoption Day webpage.
Anyone interested in adopting from foster care can contact the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange at 800-589-6273, or see biographies and photos of children available for adoption at www.mare.org.
In fiscal year 2019, 2,038 children were adopted from the Michigan foster care system, according to preliminary data that will be updated in January. There are about 13,100 children in the foster care system, but the goal for most is reunification with their families.
For more information about adoption in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/