Tampa, FL – “Adopting one child won’t change the world, but for that child, the world will change.” National Adoption Month is an initiative to increase awareness of the need for permanent families for children waiting to be adopted from foster care. As of September 2020, there were 3,160 children in the foster care system in Hillsborough County.
The first major effort to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in the foster care system came in 1976, when Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis announced an Adoption Week. In 1984, President Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week. Then in 1995, President Clinton expanded the awareness week to the entire month of November. In 1998, President Clinton directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a plan to expand the use of the internet to find forever homes for children waiting to be adopted from the foster care system. Finally, in 2008, President Bush provides an explanation of National Adoption Month in Spanish.
“All children need nurturing adults to support and encourage them as they develop physically and emotionally,” says 13th Circuit Guardian ad Litem Director Tabitha Lambert. “Foster children truly need this environment to recover from the circumstances they have experienced. From a child’s perspective, adoption can mean they belong and are connected to others who care.”
The Tampa Bay area has more children in the dependency system than any other part of the state. These children were abused, abandoned, or neglected. If the issues that brought their case into the system can’t be resolved, then state and county agencies work together to make it possible for the children to be legally adopted into new, forever families.
With just a few hours a month, volunteer child advocates in the Guardian ad Litem program get to know a child, find out their needs, and provide a voice for them in court. Research shows that children in care with an advocate often find a forever family more quickly than a child who does not have one.
For more information the adoption process in Hillsborough County, visit https://eckerd.org/. To learn how to volunteer for a foster child with Guardian ad Litem program, call 813-272-5110 or visit www.galtampa.org. Help change a child’s story.
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