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Profiles of more than a dozen foster children available for adoption now appear on the main page of the Department of Children & Family Services (DSS) Web site, allowing potential adoptive parents to see a photo of the child and learn more about him or her.
Currently, there are 4,696 children in the state's foster care system, 685 of whom are available for adoption. Of those children, 336 do not have an identified adoptive home.
"Our goal is to see every child in the foster care system who is available to be adopted find a permanent home,'" said DSS Secretary Kristy Nichols. "Our hope is that this new web feature will make prospective parents open to the idea of adopting a foster child. Even if the child that is right for their family isn't featured on the Web site, the DSS Office of Community Services (OCS) can help them find a match."
The children currently featured on the DSS Web site include Gregory, a 12-year-old who dreams of fighting fires when he grows up, Heather, a 15-year-old who is learning to cook, and four siblings, C'Kiryla, Cantrell, Davon and Jakira, who are looking for a permanent home that will give them lots of love and attention. There are 14 children currently profiled on the site, www.dss.louisiana.gov , ranging in age from four- to 15-years-old. DSS plans to add additional profiles each month. Information on how to adopt each child is included on each individual profile.
The featured children live in every region of the state. Along with profiles on the DSS Web site, the children are featured in their regions on television and radio segments and in newspaper articles.
The DSS Web site also features information for prospective adoptive parents, including guides to determine if you are ready to open your home to a child and instructions on how to start the adoption process at www.dss.louisiana.gov/adoption, as well as a link to a national adoption Web site, AdoptUSKids, which features information about 136 Louisiana foster children available for adoption.
"We know that foster children who are adopted into permanent homes have a better chance at succeeding in life than those who age out of the foster care system," said Nichols.
A 2006 American University study found that children who are adopted are 23 percent more likely to complete high school or its equivalent and are twice as likely to obtain additional schooling after secondary school relative to peers who remain in their original inadequate environment. The same study found that adopted children are 22 percent more likely to be in the labor force and earn higher incomes as young adults.
Last year, 433 families made adoptive commitments to 597 Louisiana foster children.
Find out more about adopting at www.dss.louisiana.gov , or contact a local OCS office. For a complete list of OCS offices, visit www.dss.louisiana.gov/OCSoffices.