WUFT News

Florida Department of Children and Families Launch Campaign to Spotlight Adoption

By on November 8th, 2013
Salvatore, who likes to be called Sonny, is a Caucasian adolescent of Italian descent. He really enjoys playing video games but also loves to play outside. Football is his favorite sport. Sonny loves to cook while exploring new foods. He is very smart and does well in school.  Sonny has a passion for math, but not so much for science. He is very sociable and loves making new friends. Sonny is 14 and has been available for adoption since 2009.

Courtesy of Lashon Jenkins / Children's Home Society

Salvatore, who likes to be called Sonny, enjoys playing video games but also loves to play outside. He has a passion for math, but not so much for science. He's 14 and has been available for adoption since 2009.

The Florida Department of Children and Families has launched a November campaign, “30 Days of Amazing Children: Exploring Adoption,” in celebration of National Adoption Month.

The campaign encourages Floridians to learn about adoption and showcases the stories of Florida children in the foster care system who are available for adoption.

According to DCF spokesman John Harrell, there are 750 children in Florida’s foster care program looking to be adopted, and 24 of them are teenagers located in North Central Florida.

“We strongly feel that all children deserve to have loving parents who can care for them,” Harrell said. “We don’t want children to grow up in the foster care system. The state does not make the best parent.”

Part of the DCF’s mission during this campaign is to help older children in the foster care system find permanent homes before they “age out.”

“You can find adoptive parents fairly easily for younger children, but it gets more challenging when you’re trying to look for adoptive parents for teenagers,” Harrell said.

The average age of children who are adopted in Florida is 6.5, according to Harrell. He estimated that more than half of the children up for adoption are teenagers, but of all children adopted last year, only 4.7 percent were 16 or older, and only 14.5 percent were between 11 and 15.

Lashon Jenkins, adoption specialist at the Children’s Home Society, said that the support of a permanent family is vital to a child’s success.

The CHS covers adoptions throughout 13 counties in central Florida. Jenkins said they usually succeed in placing children with permanent families before they age out of the system, but for the ones do not get adopted and do not choose to remain with their foster parents, there are programs being implemented to help them survive on their own.

“When kids age out of foster care, a lot of them have nowhere to go, and they don’t have a family to go to,” she said. “A lot of them get lost in the world and don’t have support.”

The CHS will host “Celebrate Adoption” Nov. 17 to commemorate National Adoption Month. The event, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Westside Park in Gainesville, is a celebration of the 153 adoptions completed through the CHS from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013.

Along with events going on throughout the month all over the state, interested Floridians can visit the Adopt Florida website at www.adoptflorida.org to learn about children currently up for adoption. Each day, a different video of a teen or sibling group will be featured on the site as part of the DCF’s campaign.

Bob Rooks, director of Florida’s Adoption Information Center, which responds to all inquiries sent to adoptflorida.org, said that for the past 10 years Florida has been in the top five states to show an increase in adoptions.

Last year, according to the DCF, 3,353 children were adopted from foster care, 100 more than the year before.

“Part of it is that we try to be responsive to families,” Rooks said.

The center receives over 10,000 calls per year and refers potential adoptive parents to community-based partners in their area, such as the CHS. Adoptive parents are offered assistance through the adoption process and after finalization. Rooks attributes at least part of Florida’s continuing improvement in adoption to an efficient support network for both parents and children.

Rooks said that the goal is to get children out of the foster care system within a year.

“Either get those children adopted or get them back to their family,” Rooks said. “If there’s any way to get the child back to the family, we all want that. But if we’re not able to do that, we want to get them adopted within a year.”

Along with visiting www.adoptflorida.org, prospective parents can find more information about adoption and Florida children available for adoption by calling 1-800-96-ADOPT.


This entry was posted in Florida and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Florida

Tax Collection Agencies Expedite Concealed Weapon Permits

Concealed Weapon Intake System, a voluntary program offered by the government, allows individuals to apply for or renew a concealed weapon license. Adopted by Marion County in April, people who serve in the military are receiving permits in less than a month.


State Panel Prepares To Move Forward With Medical Pot

The panel responsible for selecting the five nurseries where the state’s first legal pot will be grown have been appointed by Florida health officials. There will be three members, the chief of the Office of Compassionate Use, an accountant and a member of Gov. Rick Scott’s Statewide Drug Advisory Policy Council. 


medicalmj

Medical Marijuana Supporters Renew Legalization Efforts With New Petition

Supporters of medical marijuana legalization went to court houses all over Florida on Friday in an effort to acquire the signatures needed to put the issue on the 2016 ballot. They need a total of 683,149 signatures, according to Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, an organization dedicated to legalizing medical marijuana.


Marion County Plane Crash

Two People Dead In Weirsdale Plane Crash

Two people are dead after a single-engine aircraft crashed in Weirsdale, Fla. today. Marion County officials conducted early investigations before handing over to the FAA and NTSB.


Jimmy Nelson, owner and host of television show Extreme Fishing Adventures, films for an episode in Key West, Fla., in January 2011. Nelson, 36-year-old Dunnellon resident, gave up real estate in 2008 to host his own fishing show.

Dunnellon Resident Hosts Fishing Television Show

Jimmy Nelson, a resident of Dunnellon, Florida, grew up with an affinity for water and fishing. After his job as a real estate agent was affected by the 2006 housing market decline, Nelson began his journey of turning his fishing hobby into a television career.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments