Can you help one of the children awaiting adoption in this county?
November 13, 2018
Mark Keck, MSCJ, is a supervisor in the permanency department at Richland County Children Services.
Heading into the homestretch of another year, autumn reminds us winter is around the corner. This month we remember our veterans today, Nov. 11, and Thanksgiving 11 days later. November is a month of reflections. Thus, it is apropos that it also marks the time for adoption awareness.
As we assemble with our families and friends to consider all that we are thankful for, we should also remember those less fortunate. Some in Richland County are homeless, some without work, others struggle with drug addiction, and there are a lot of empty seats at tables — loved ones lost to any manner of death.
While these are all legitimate reasons for keeping our own lives in perspective, some are easier to forget. They have shelter. They have food. They have clothes and toys. Various organizations have their names on lists to ensure they have a gift to open Christmas morning. It is easy to overlook them.
By now, you might have surmised I am talking about foster kids. If so, you are, in part, correct, but not entirely so. Children in foster care, for the most part, will return home, or to a family member/significant other. We should, of course, remember those children too — but during Adoption Awareness Month we distinguish those kids in the permanent custody of Child Protective Services from those who are in temporary custody.
The kids in temporary custody still have a very good chance of reunification with their biological families, thanks to arduous work of caseworkers and the efforts of parents and family members who remedy the need for placement. Those in permanent custody are not going home. They are the kids who linger in foster homes and residential facilities.
Those who give a home to the most vulnerable among us; who reap the rewards of providing love, hope and charity, are few. Richland County Children Services foster and/or adopt homes represent a minuscule proportion of Richland County (approximately 0.04 percent of the population). Yet, they shoulder a responsibility much greater than can be quantified by an average or a scientific algorithm.
In 2016, Ohio had 9,921 children who exited the foster system, nearly half of whom were reunified with their parents/primary caregivers. The remainder of those kids were adopted through a public child welfare agency. This group of children, while important to remember, are not the focus of this discussion. They, after all, had a home to return to upon resolution of the problems creating the initial need for placement; or found a family with those who adopt. These are the lucky ones. Twenty-three percent of the children in out-of-home care were still waiting for adoption in Ohio in 2016.
This macro view of the subject, while perhaps interesting on the whole, does not really inform about Richland County. As of this writing, there are 21 children in permanent custody of Richland County Children Services. Due to the ongoing efforts of the foster care and adoption workers as well as those who provide homes to the children, nearly all of the current 21 children awaiting adoption have identified adoptive homes. And yet, there remain some who do not.
As you make your way through November, please remember those who do not have a family of their own, those who await adoption. From babies to adolescents — especially adolescents — there is a child who needs an adoptive home. Please consider what you can do to provide a permanent home for a child through adoption. You can find out more about how to become an adoptive parent by contacting Richland County Children Services, by calling 419-774-4100.« Back to News