More than 3,600 abused or neglected Florida children were adopted from state care last year, but the need is as great as ever. November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and this year’s theme is “Teens Need Families, No Matter What”.
The goal is to increase awareness about the number of teenagers in search of permanent families. There are 428,000 children in the U.S. foster care system, and approximately 112,000 of those children are currently awaiting adoption. This month includes National Adoption Day which is observed in courthouses across the nation, where thousands of adoptions are finalized at once. During the month of November it is estimated that a total of 75 children will be adopted in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties.
16: Adoption Day in Hillsborough County
17: Adoption Day in Pinellas County
Eckerd Connects, the leading community-based care organization in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties, works hard to recruit, train and support individuals to provide care to children who need it most.
“It’s tough to have so many children living in an ongoing state of uncertainty,” said Jess Sternthal, Associate Executive Director for Eckerd Connects’ Community Alternatives for Pasco and Pinellas Counties. “Each child deserves a family to love and encourage them and to give them that ultimate sense of belonging. No child should grow up feeling as if they have no family to call their own. Our goal is to match each of these kids with families ready to open their homes to children who will fulfill their lives in ways that they could have never imagined.”
There is a critical need for adoptive parents for children of all ages. There is an even a greater need for families willing to adopt teenagers, children with special needs, and sibling groups.
“Every November, we take time to recognize the many families across the state who have opened their hearts and homes to adopt children in need,” said Governor Rick Scott. This Florida Adoption Month, I am proud to propose a nearly $200 million investment as part of my 2018-2019 recommended budget to support children adopted from foster care. Every child deserves a loving family and adoptive parents have a unique opportunity to help change a child’s life for the better. We are grateful to the families who have provided homes for the more than 20,000 children adopted from Florida’s child welfare and foster care systems over the past seven years and will continue to do all we can to encourage families to consider adoption.”
At any given time, there are 800 local children awaiting placement with a new “forever family”. There is an even greater need for families willing to adopt teenagers, children with special needs, and sibling groups. To meet that need, Eckerd Connects’ Community Alternatives Pasco and Pinellas is working hard to recruit, train and support individuals to provide care to those children who need it most.