During February, Black History Month, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the Council on Black Minnesotans, and several nonprofit and community organizations are working together to encourage families to adopt children waiting in the foster care system, particularly African American children who are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system.
“All children need safe, stable, loving homes to thrive,” said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “During Black History Month, we are celebrating the African American families who have adopted and encouraging other families to consider adoption. We, along with our community partners, are here to provide support before, during and after adoption.”
Added Edward McDonald, executive director of the Council on Black Minnesotans, “As we celebrate the rich history of African Americans during the month of February, let us also use the month to begin doubling our efforts for the remainder of the year encouraging more African American families to adopt and provide foster care for children who are wards of the state, especially the disproportionate number of African American children. The greatest historical remembrance an African American child, or any child, can have is one that is highlighted by the love and care of a family.”
Throughout February adoption-specific events include:
The Minnesota Heart Gallery is featuring foster children in need of adoptive families in its large lobby display at the East Side Neighborhood Services Building, 1700 Second St. NE, Minneapolis. The Heart Gallery is a community outreach program of Ampersand Families, which raises awareness about older youth waiting in the foster care system and helps recruit adoptive families for these youth.
Hennepin County, HOPE Adoption and Family Services, and MN ADOPT adoption experts will present on foster care and adoption, and staff an information table Feb. 22 at the Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church’s Empowerment through Education’s Ninth Annual African Heritage Month Observance in Minneapolis. More information is on the church’s website.
The MN ADOPT website is featuring African American youth and sibling groups waiting for adoptive families. MN ADOPT, an adoption service array provided by the Minnesota Adoption Resource Network, manages the State Adoption Exchange and information on Minnesota’s waiting children. It also supports and sustains families who adopt these children by providing resources and referrals.
MN ADOPT is also working with the Star Tribune on its monthly “waiting child” feature, with KSTP-TV on its “Thursday’s Child” weekly feature and with KMOJ radio to promote adoption of children from the foster care system.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services is contacting county social service directors to urge them to engage communities in focusing on adoption during Black History Month.
As of Jan. 1, 2014, approximately 30 percent of the 467 children in the foster care system waiting to be adopted immediately are African American. Only 18 percent of the 524 children adopted from the foster care system in 2012 were African American.
For more information about adopting, visit the MN ADOPT website at www.mnadopt.org.
Information provided by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.