FLORENCE, Ky. (Dec. 8, 2004) – Adoptive families in the Northern Kentucky Region were honored last week as part of a celebration of the significant increase in the area’s recent number of public adoptions.
At a reception in the Florence Government Center, Joel Griffith, administrator for the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Northern Kentucky Service Region, said adoptive parents deserve high praise for giving 83 children safe, permanent homes last year. That’s a 20 percent increase over the region’s 2003 adoption rate, he said.
"While it’s great to see these numbers increase, it’s most remarkable to see the joy in the faces of all these children, who now can be sure they are with their forever families," he said.
State Sen. Katie Stine, R- Fort Thomas, and Florence Mayor Diane E. Whalen also spoke at the event.
Stine congratulated families on their commitment and caring. She said she has served on a legislative task force that studied barriers to adoption and how to speed up the process for children to achieve permanency.
"As a senator, I try to change laws to improve the system, but adoptive families actually change lives," she said.
Whalen read and presented a proclamation issued by the city of Florence.
"Adoptive families, who open their homes and hearts to children in crisis, play a vital role in helping these children heal and launch into successful adulthood," she read.
From 2001 to 2004, the increase in children gaining permanency in the region is more than 400 percent, Griffith said.
The region is also placing children in permanent homes more quickly, he said.
In the past year, there has been a 45 percent reduction in the time from receipt of a termination of parental rights order – which legally frees children from their birth parents -- to adoption finalization.
The average time for completing an adoption last year was 22 months; this year it is 11.5 months.
"That progress is even more encouraging," Griffith said. "It means children aren’t lingering in foster care, waiting for their next move."
Griffith said there are more than 100 children in the region ready for adoption who do not have homes finalized.
Potential adoptive parents receive thorough training and can get advice from one of the region’s several support networks, Griffith said.
"The demand on adoptive parents, especially at first, can be great," he said. "But so is the love of a child who finally feels at home with a secure family."
Learn more about adoption by calling the cabinet at (800) 232-KIDS, or go online to http://chfs.ky.gov/.
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