Baylor Law Center and McLennan County CPS plan to finalize 31 adoptions during annual Adoption Day event but the statewide placement crisis continues
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - McLennan County Child Protective Services along with the help of Baylor Law Center are putting on its annual Adoption Day Event next Friday to legally finalize 31 adoptions to 26 families in the community and also celebrate the special, much-waited-for occasion.
”It’s a way to really commemorate the day for them,” McLennan County CPS Adoptions Program Director, Larisa Brown, said. “It’s just like a big celebration.”
Children in foster care spend months, sometimes years, in the program, and, when families decide to adopt, it takes months or longer to finalize it. So, McLennan County CPS and Baylor Law Center are putting on the Adoption Day Event to finalize adoptions by a judge in one of Baylor Law Center’s courtrooms.
The event will also provide many activities and decorations to celebrate the special occasion. Brown said there will be food, a theme, a place to take a new family photo, several activities for kids and more. She said Baylor Law students go all out to make this moment memorable.
“Children get to exit the foster care system, and the families get to legally become families when they’ve already emotionally been families for quite some time, but they get to legally say that they are a family and the kids will have that forever family,” Brown said.
However, over the past few years, Brown said she has noticed not only fewer adoptions but also fewer children entering foster care. In September 2022, there were 218 children in foster care, but, a year ago, there were about 285 children in the system, according to the state Department of Family and Protective Services.
But, there’s also another problem happening across the state. Brown said the state is experiencing a placement crisis, meaning there are not enough homes and facilities to house and care for children in foster care.
She said she noticed the problem during the Pandemic when treatment facilities that would usually house and treat children could not offer their beds anymore.
“I just think that there’s been a lot between COVID and just a lot of things going on that it’s been really hard for people to maybe stay invested in that and... their priorities maybe have shifted,” Brown said. “So, we really try to highlight the need for these are kids right here from our community that are in need of love and care and just a family to call their own.”
She said if people in the community are interested in fostering, there is a licensing process, and she said to contact the county’s CPS office.
For those that took that step in fostering, the big Adoption Day of their new members is next Friday.
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