We should ALL care that over 5000 young people in this province under the age of 18 living in permanent foster care (through no fault of their own) and that at least 1000 turn 18 each year and are dismissed from the child welfare system without having found permanence
Over 50 years ago the long gone Toronto Telegram newspaper began running a feature highlighting a foster child in need of an adoptive home. In 1964, “Today’s Child” launched with a photo of “Hope,” a 15-month-old bi racial girl with developmental delays who was in Toronto’s foster care system. There was great worry that no one would respond—at the time healthy white newborn babies were considered the “gold standard” for a family wanting to adopt and supply was plentiful. To everyone’s great surprise, Toronto Children’s Aid Society received more than 40 requests from families looking to adopt the little girl.
50 years ago 15 months was feared too late for a family--but it wasn't for Hope. Fast forward 50 plus years and we now know that all kids are deserving of a forever family. Sibling groups of 2, 3 and 4, medically fragile children and youth, kids with all kinds of special needs and of all ages are able to leave foster care forever and grow up and grow old in a permanent family through adoption (my daughter was 16 when we met her). As the profile of kids who are finding a family changes so does the make up of adoptive families—specifically single parents and same sex couples are now recognized as wonderful candidates to parent. This is good news for us all—the kids, the families, our communities and ultimately our province and country.
“We should ALL care that over 5000 young people in this province under the age of 18 living in permanent foster care (through no fault of their own)"
November is Adoption Awareness Month where we shed a light on the most vulnerable young people in our province and vow to do better for them. The best solution for these children is a permanent family. We all have a part to play in ensuring this will happen for all children and youth leaving foster care. We can become adoptive parents, be part of pushing our government to do more to find families for these kids—our kids--AND support the families that do choose to become their forever home.
For 30 years, the Adoption Council of Ontario (ACO) has been working alongside child welfare agencies and the government in finding families for kids and supporting successful placements through education, clinical supports, and building community based networks for parents and youth across the province. ALL of these pieces must be in place to ensure we keep our promise to our children and youth-- they deserve a better future.
The ACO is the first step in finding out more about what YOU can do to ensure that every child in this province has a family to grow up and grow old in. Check out www.adoption.on.ca to find out more.
Aviva Zukerman Schure works for the Adoption Council of Ontario.
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