Oct. 28, 2013

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Beth Voigt
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DHS to host 16th annual adoption celebration to help engage families

Event will provide prospective families information about the adoption process

“Home,” “love,” and “family” are simple words many people take for granted, but for Minnesota children in the foster care system waiting to be adopted, those words mean so much more.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services and its partners will host Celebrate Adoption: A Circus of the Heart to commemorate the adoption of 524 children from the foster care system in 2012, and provide information to those thinking about adoption of the hundreds of children still waiting. This celebration is free and open to the public on Nov. 3, 2013, from 1-4 p.m. at the Prom Center Event Facility in Oakdale, Minn.

“Working with counties, tribes and adoption agencies, our goal is to place waiting children with permanent, safe, loving families,” said Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “To do that, we need to identify families who can best meet children’s needs, and provide critical support to them and their children so the adoption is successful.”

That help includes a variety of services, including:

MN ADOPT, a Minnesota Department of Human Services program managed by the Minnesota Adoption Resource Network, under state contract, to help families who adopt children from the foster care system with services for adoptive parents and providers, including:

• Pre-adoption orientations and trainings offered by private and county agencies throughout the state

• Support services offered by private agencies, counties, tribes and adoption professionals for families who have adopted

• Information on parenting children with special needs

• Participation in special events celebrating diversity and highlighting the need for adoptive parents.

HELP, a program designed to streamline the referral process and provide immediate interventions, including:

• Referral to statewide therapeutic services

• Available full-time clinical specialists

• Individual Education Program assistance in schools

• Professional guidance and support

• Tools and resources to minimize a crisis

To learn more about HELP, call the Minnesota Adoption Resources Network, under contract with the Minnesota Department of Human Services, at (612) 746-5137 or visit the HELP page at mnadopt.org.

Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate program, administered through the University of Minnesota, which provides training to mental health and child welfare professionals to ensure quality post-adoption services by competent and well-trained professionals, which is critical to adoptive families, foster families and children.

Jesson and Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea will give the welcome at the event. Together they lead the Children’s Justice Initiative, and effort that supports permanency for children and improvements to the child welfare system. Other activities will include games, prizes, music, pony rides, petting zoo and activities for adolescents. Prospective adoptive parents will have an opportunity to learn more about adopting children from the foster care system and these services by talking to experts at information tables throughout the event.

Of the 520 children currently waiting to be adopted, 63 percent are 6-18 years old and 53 percent are siblings who need to be adopted together.

“The need for families who can meet the needs of children—particularly sibling groups and adolescents—is particularly great,” said Jesson. “This event is not only an opportunity to celebrate the adoption of children but to give people thinking about adoption some valuable information. They can talk with experts in the counties and adoption agencies as well as with families who have adopted—particularly teens and sibling groups. They can listen to our speakers, including an adoptive family, and pick up written materials to look through later. There’s a wealth of information all here at this one site, and we want people considering adoption to take advantage of it.”

For those unable to attend the event, more information is available:

• Call the county social service agency or one of the adoption agencies working with the state for information on adoption, home studies, child-and-parent matches, and services following adoption; counties and the private adoption agencies under contract with the Minnesota Department of Human Services do not charge fees to parents adopting children under state guardianship.

• Visit the website, www.mnadopt.org or call 612-861-7115 to reach the Minnesota Adoption Resource Network.

Celebrate Adoption: Circus of the Heart is sponsored by MN ADOPT, a program managed by MARN under contract with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Partners include: Anoka, Hennepin and Ramsey counties, and several private adoption agencies: Ampersand Families, Bethany Christian Services, Children’s Home Society, Family Focus, HOPE Adoption & Family Services International Inc., Kindred Family Services/Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and North Homes Adoption Program.

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