Foster care and adoption

10 years ago

To the editor:
    As you may or may not know, November was National Adoption Awareness Month. This month is set aside throughout the country to raise awareness of the needs of so many children that are without permanency. However, the need does not end with the turn of a page on the calendar.

    The Department of Health and Human Services encourages all families and local organizations to raise awareness, throughout the year, of the more than 100,000 children and youth in the U.S. foster care system waiting for permanent families. In Maine alone, there are approximately 1,850 children in the foster care system. Of those, approximately 440 children are freed for adoption. Although most of these children will be adopted by their current caregivers, many do not have an identified “forever family.”
    Representatives of the Department of Health and Human Services in Aroostook County would like to thank all of our foster/adoptive parents (past and present) for all the wonderful work you’ve done. The positive impact you’ve had in the lives of our young people is greatly appreciated and words could never express the gratitude and admiration we have for everything that’s been invested into the lives of so many children.
    The State of Maine, and specifically Aroostook County, is currently in desperate need of foster families for children in need of placement. Sometimes these placements are short term, lasting only a few days. Other times, foster families will be asked to participate in the process of reuniting a child with their family. When a child cannot safely return to their family, the Department needs people that will open their hearts and homes to adopt a child and become their life long family. If you are currently a foster parent, thank you from the bottom of our heart. If you have been a foster parent, we’d love to have you back. If you are considering becoming a foster parent or adopting a child, we would love to speak with you.
    There will also be informational meetings on foster care/adoption this month: Thursday, Dec. 5 at Department of Health and Human Services in Houlton at 6 p.m.; and on Monday, Dec. 16 at Cary Medical Center in Caribou at 6 p.m. in the Maine Room at the Chan Center.
    If you have questions or need further information about foster care and adoption, please contact the DHHS office in your area: northern Aroostook County — 30 Skyway Unit 100, Caribou, ME 04736, (207) 493-4000, ann.stephenson@maine.gov.; or southern Aroostook — 11 High St., Houlton, ME 04730 (207) 532-5000, linda.polchies@maine.gov.
    We appreciate your thoughtful consideration of becoming a foster/adoptive parent and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kent C. Kinney, LSW
foster care licensing and adoption supervisor