VICTORIA - More than 1,400 B.C. children and youth in care have been adopted over the past five years, but more than 1,000 still need loving families to share their lives with.
November has been proclaimed Adoption Awareness Month in B.C., a celebration of the loving families created when people open their hearts and commit to sharing their lives with a vulnerable child or youth.
As part of the Families First Agenda, the government has committed to protecting and caring for B.C.'s most vulnerable citizens, including children and youth in care who can't return to their families.
Children and youth, who are provided the stability and support found through adoption, experience better outcomes than their peers who leave government care without the foundation of a permanent family environment. This stresses the importance of teenage adoption. While youth over the age of 12 make up more than 30 per cent of the children and youth in care waiting to be adopted, they only represent 10 per cent of annual adoptions in B.C.
The B.C. government strives to ensure those wanting to adopt children and youth in care are supported and prepared to welcome a new addition to their home. The Ministry of Children and Family Development partners with the Adoptive Families Association of BC to provide adoption resources and support so potential adoptive families and individuals know what to expect during the adoption process.
Adoption workers also assess and prepare each child and youth for adoption and only match them up with the family that best suits their personality and any special needs they might have.
Anyone interested in exploring adoption and ways to get involved are encouraged to visit the government's adoption website at www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/adoption.
The Families First Agenda for British Columbia provides information about how government supports families throughout the province. It describes a range of established programs and some new ideas to help make life more affordable, support vulnerable families and keep communities safe. To read the agenda, share your ideas or provide feedback, visit: www.FamiliesFirstBC.ca.
Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux -"Whether it's having someone attend their hockey or soccer game, music or dance recital, read them a bedtime story and tuck them in, or having a shoulder to cry on when life doesn't meet their expectations, every child and youth deserves to have a permanent family to cheer them on and offer support."
"Throughout November, please join me in recognizing the many families and individuals who have welcomed a vulnerable child into their lives with open arms and discovered the joyful rewards that adoption can bring."
- Children and youth come into government care for a variety of reasons:
- A parent may be unable to provide a safe, stable home or unable to provide the type of care a child or youth needs.
- A child or youth's parents may have passed away without naming a guardian.
- Parents may have decided that adoption is the best option for their child or youth.
- Ministry of Children and Family Development adoption staff work to ensure only the very best match between a child or youth and an adoptive family. Considerations taken before matching a child or youth can include:
- The child or youth being part of a sibling group.
- Special needs requirements.
- Cultural appropriateness of the home.
- Over the past 10 years, B.C. has averaged more than 290 adoptions of children and youth in care annually, a significant increase from 165 in 2000-01.
- Permanent families were found for 23 teens last year, an increase from 10 in 2001.
- Recognizing the need to maintain cultural connections, the number of Aboriginal children and youth placed for adoption with Aboriginal families was approximately 64 per cent last year, up from 27 per cent in 2001.
The Adoptive Families Association of BC is contracted by the Ministry of Children and Family Development to provide education and support to adoptive families and those interested in adoption. Visit their website at: www.bcadoption.com
Meet some of the B.C. children and youth waiting to be adopted at: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/adoption/bulletin_external/profiles.htm
Ministry of Children and Family Development