Monday, August 10, 2009

Need for Federal Funding for Post-adoption Services

The National Adoption Center supports the need for increased federal funding for post-adoption services. In a recent Congressional briefing given by Voice for Adoption (VFA), it was stated that post-adoption services are critical to helping adoptive families and children overcome the challenges they encounter. These services also help to influence families to adopt, by reassuring them that the services their children need will be available after the adoption is finalized. Since 2002, approximately 51,000 children are adopted from foster care annually.

Currently there are 130,000 children in the United States —1600 of them in the Delaware Valley —waiting to be adopted. VFA cites some disturbing statistics about these children:
  • 47% are nine-years-old and older
  • Nearly 42 months is the average stay in foster care
  • Children of color stay in foster care longer and have fewer adoptions than their white peers
  • Nearly 90% of children adopted from foster care in 2006 had special needs
  • In 2006, more than 26,000 “aged out” of foster care
Post-adoption services include a variety of services, such as support groups, crisis intervention and family counseling. The need for these services is on-going. But it all takes money. Families who adopt children from the foster care system are generally eligible for a financial subsidy to support the basic cost of caring for the child. While medical assistance may be available, it does not always cover the special needs of these families and children

At present there are diverse federal funding sources for post-adoptions, some of which are matched by state dollars. However, VFA points out that there is no federal mandate or funding directed solely toward post-adoption services and recommends that federal funding for this purpose be enhanced and improved.

A priority for increased federal funding is to ensure that post-adoption services once again be part of the federal grants offered through the Adoption Opportunities program. The National Adoption Center has won many federal grants through the Adoption Opportunities funding both in recruitment and post-adoption services.

No comments: