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The Minnesota Department of Human Services is working with its partner organizations to encourage families to adopt children waiting in the foster care system, particularly African American children who are overrepresented in the child welfare system.
Throughout February, Black History Month:
“During Black History Month, we want to celebrate the strengths of African American families and encourage more families to consider adoption,” said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “We are looking for adoptive parents who can provide them with safe, nurturing homes for a lifetime. Many African American families have already successfully adopted and we encourage more to consider adoption.”
Encouraging adoption of African American children is just one step Minnesota is taking to improve the lives of children. Recognizing the importance of permanent families, Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed creation of Northstar Care for Children. The new program, currently being considered by the Legislature, would make it easier for children to find adoptive or other permanent homes by changing incentives for prospective parents.
Currently, 355 children in the foster care system need adoptive families immediately. Of the 460 children adopted from the foster care system in 2012, 16 percent were African American. They waited an average 164 days longer than any other children in the system to get adopted. Nine families with at least one African American parent are registered with the State Adoption Exchange.
Of the 355 children waiting for adoption:
“Every child deserves a family, and help is available,” Jesson said. “The state can provide financial support to children with special needs, and the private and nonprofit adoption agencies that we contract with can provide ongoing support before, during and after adoption.”
More information is available:
Editor’s note: Adoptive families and adoption experts are available for interviews. Contact Beth Voigt, Minnesota Department of Human Services, 651-431-3833.