A total of 644 young British Columbians, who were in government care, found the love and security of a forever home over the past two years, with 2015-16 marking the highest annual adoption count since the Adoptions Act came into effect in 1997.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) set an ambitious goal to place 600 children and youth in adoptive homes over the two-year period, ending March 31, 2016. With the help of partners, such as the Adoptive Families Association of B.C., licensed adoption agencies, Indigenous Perspectives Society, the Representative of Children and Youth and contractors, and through the efforts of adoptions social workers throughout B.C., that goal has not only been met, but it was surpassed.
In 2014-15, MCFD increased adoption placements by 20% over the previous year to reach 276 placements. With a further 368 adoption placements in 2015-16, B.C. marked its highest single year total in the past two decades.
Building on this momentum, Budget 2016 includes $3 million in new funding over three years to increase access to the adoption education program, help support Aboriginal agencies focus on permanency planning or provide increased support for children transitioning from a foster home to an adoptive home.
There are still more children and youth in B.C. who are waiting for the stability and care of a forever home, which is why the B.C. government is setting a new target of 600 permanency placements in 2016-17. This includes adoption and other options to transfer the custody of a child into a permanent home.
Over half of waiting children in B.C. are Aboriginal, which is why MCFD is working closely with Aboriginal communities on a permanency planning project to ensure Aboriginal children and youth continue to have strong connections to their culture, traditions, communities and language after placement.
Adoption is about love and a lasting commitment to make a difference in a child’s life. Adoptive parents come from diverse backgrounds. You don’t need to be the perfect parent to adopt and marital status and sexual orientation don’t matter. Any B.C. resident over 19 who can provide a loving, nurturing home may be eligible to adopt.
If you have a place in your heart and home for a child or teen in need, please consider becoming an adoptive parent or guardian.
To find out more about adoption in B.C., call 1 877 ADOPT-07. For more information on guardianship and other options for permanency, contact your local MCFD office: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/sda/contacts.htm
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development –
“Exceeding our adoptions target means that more young British Columbians will experience the unconditional love and support they deserve. Thank you to the parents and guardians who have opened their hearts and homes to these children and youth in need — you have made a world of difference in their lives.”
Karen Madeiros, executive director, Adoptive Families Association of BC –
“We celebrate the courage of these 644 kids and their new families. Building a new family is rewarding and it’s also very hard work. AFABC will be here to help and to ensure that they have programs, supports, and a community whenever and wherever they need it.”
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Representative for Children and Youth –
“Six hundred and forty-four children now have forever families. That’s a real accomplishment and I congratulate the families and thank ministry staff for their hard work. But even as we celebrate that accomplishment today, we know there is much more work to be done for the many children who are still waiting for a permanent home, a disproportionate number of whom are Aboriginal. Moving forward, I hope to see the ministry embrace a greater understanding and respect for the cultural differences that inform the way Aboriginal children and families look at permanency and adoption practices.”
- An average of 270 children and youth in care are adopted in British Columbia each year.
- Approximately 42% of adopted children are adopted by their foster family.
- In partnership with the Representative and the Adoptive Families Association of B.C., the Ministry of Children and Family Development launched the 1000FamiliesBC campaign to encourage adoption of the more than 1,000 waiting children and teens.
- Many of the children and youth still waiting for adoption are school age. They may be siblings who need to stay together or they may have special placement needs due to difficult early childhood experiences, learning delays or other developmental challenges.
- MCFD has made investments in each of the last three years to increase the number of children and teens finding forever homes through adoption, guardianship and other means, including:
- $4 million in 2014 and 2015 to support adoptions, guardianship and permanency for waiting children and youth in care.
- As part of the emphasis on responding to the needs of vulnerable children and families, Budget 2016 included an additional $3 million over three years to facilitate the adoption of children in care.
- Adopting through the Ministry of Children and Family Development: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/adoption/
- 1000FamiliesBC campaign: www.1000familiesbc.com
- Adoptive Families Association of BC: www.bcadoption.com
- Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks: fbcyicn.ca
- B.C. Federation of Foster Parent Associations: www.bcfosterparents.ca/