AfriGeneas Adoption Forum
542,000 children in foster care
'Small miracles': new hope for Black adoptions
Tyler was only 2 days old, tiny, fragile and struggling to breathe--the result of the PCP in his system. But Danita and Allen Strauss loved him immediately. Eighteen months later they adopted the toddler, giving the bright-eyed and once-abandoned child a new life and new hope. Now, at 3 years old, the energetic young boy, better known as T.J., is enrolled in private school, developing and functioning normally, and giving his parents a reason to smile each day.
There are an estimated 542,000 children in foster care, with 38 percent, the largest distribution, among African-Americans. And although Black children represent the bulk of children in foster care, are seemingly the most difficult to place, and the last to be adopted--more African-Americans are adopting children and more options are available through private and public agencies.
Faced with a continuing crisis, state and private agencies are expanding their programs in an attempt to make Black people aware of the benefits of adoption while reducing the number of Black children in foster care. "It's a top priority of the department to reduce the amount of time that African-American youth spend in the system," says Brian Samuels, director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. "The average stay for an African-American ward is 62 months, but the average stay for a Caucasian or Hispanic ward is 50 months."