National Adoption Month: Every Child Needs Family
Every Child Needs Family. That’s a theme the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services has maintained for many years. It’s a reminder that every individual child is not just a case, but a young person who needs all the things we get from a family, including love, support, advice, guidance, safety, etc.
Most of us are born into an imperfect clan that loves, accepts, supports, and celebrates us. Our family relationships follow us and sustain us throughout our lives, not just while we’re children. That’s why one of the first things we do when children come into our custody is look for relatives who can step in to take care of them. About 1/3 of children in our custody are placed with kin. That may be temporary, but in some cases, they end up adopting.
For some young people, blood relatives may not be a safe option. That’s when we look for other adults who can step in and become their chosen forever family. Even in those cases we try to work with adoptive families to help maintain family ties when it’s safe to do so. Take Rickey and Michelle. They took in one little girl, then later her younger cousin and adopted them so they could grow up together. The couple found out the little boy had a sister who was adopted by another family. Rickey and Michelle made friends with the other adoptive family and make sure the children have playdates, birthday parties and celebrate holidays together. They’ve found ways to make sure the cousins and siblings have the benefit of both their chosen and blood families.
So far this year we’ve finalized 113 adoptions and there are 150 children on adoptive placement. Our team is working hard to find relatives or potentially new families who are the right fit for our children. But it’s not enough. We still have more than 800 children in our permanent custody. They’re not just cute babies and toddlers, but teens who need someone to help them become adults and be there for them long after they turn 18, young people with special needs, or sibling groups who want to stay together.
Some children may be more difficult to find a permanent connection for, but every child is worthy of love and support. Every child is unique and we’re looking for families that meet their specific needs. They don’t have to be perfect, just perfect for our kids. As a community we cannot let them down.
Family is what you make it and we’re asking you to make our kids part of your family. If you have room in your heart and home, please consider adoption. For more information call the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services recruitment line at 216-881-5775 or visit our website at everychildneedsfamily.com.