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Benchmarks: Journal of the New York State Unified Court System

Winter 2006

More Than 400 NY Foster Children Find Homes on National Adoption Day

BY ANITA WOMACK-WEIDNER

Hundreds of New York State Foster Care children received the gift of family in November as part of National Adoption Day.

Created six years ago and designated as the Saturday before Thanksgiving, National Adoption Day marks the date set aside each year when an unprecedented number of judges, court staff, attorneys, child welfare agencies and advocates across the country spend the day finalizing the adoptions of thousands of foster care children and honoring the families who adopted them.  
Actress Victoria Rowell holds a newly-adopted boy in Brooklyn
Actress Victoria Rowell
holds a newly-adopted
boy in Brooklyn

PHOTO: FAYE ELLMAN
 
 
Brooklyn Family Court was the site of this year's national kick-off celebration, where 117 adoptions were completed in one day. Emmy-nominated actress Victoria Rowell - who spent 18 years in foster care - was the special guest. A total of 309 adoptions were finalized in New York City during a week-long effort; over 100 were finalized outside New York City. Approximately 3,300 adoptions were completed nationwide.

According to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, more than 40 counties across the state participated in National Adoption Day - finalizing adoptions and holding conferences, fundraisers and information sessions on adoption and foster parenting. Some locations promoted adoption awareness throughout the entire month of November.  
New family celebrants in Erie County
New family celebrants
in Erie County,
above and below

PHOTOS: MIKE GUAGLIANO
 
New family celebrants in Erie County
 

A number of counties participated in Heart Gallery, a national program started in New Mexico in 2001, designed to raise awareness about children who need permanent homes by displaying professional portraits that capture the children's individuality. The program has demonstrated unprecedented success in finding adoptive homes for foster children. The Western New York Heart Gallery was hosted by Buffalo, the Capital Region's by Albany. The Mid-Hudson Region Heart Gallery made "stops" in participating counties throughout November. A photo display was also featured in Manhattan's Grand Central Station.

Participating counties include: Albany, Allegany, Bronx, Canandaigua, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Clinton, Columbia, Dutchess, Erie, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Herkimer, Kings, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Nassau, New York, Niagara, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange, Orleans, Putnam, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, St. Lawrence, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Suffolk, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Washington, Wayne, Westchester and Wyoming.

There are over 119,000 foster children nationwide looking for permanent homes, including over 4,300 children currently freed for adoption in New York. According to new findings by the Urban Institute, in a report released at the Brooklyn event by the National Adoption Day Coalition, interest in adoption among women ages 18-44 rose 38 percent in the United States between 1995 and 2002 and is at an all-time high.

"All children deserve safe, permanent homes with families who love and care for them," Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye said in a press release. "As we continue to improve the process for foster care adoptions, identifying and eliminating bureaucratic logjams while always ensuring safety, we help children move more quickly into the security and stability of their own 'forever families,' where they can thrive."

For more information about National Adoption Day and Heart Gallery, visit: www.nationaladoptionday.org and www.adoptuskids.org.

Winter 2006 PDF Format
HTML Version:

State of the Judiciary Judicial Elections Report Summary Jury Trials Indigent Defense Services Multi-Hat Judge Matrimonial Commission Solo & Small Firm Practice Office of Self-Represented National Adoption Day Court Reporters Listening Conference Construction Update Historic Courthouses and Trials Did You Know? Judicial Institute Calendar UCS Katrina Fund Update Black History Month

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Web page updated: September 1, 2006 - www.NYCOURTS.gov