By Lauri McKnight, Executive Director Children Awaiting Parents, Inc.
On any given day in the United States, 123,000 youth wait in foster care to be adopted.
Waiting creates uncertainty for anyone, but for youth without a solid and supportive family foundation, there is even greater uncertainty. Many waiting youth are older teens—the majority are males of color—hoping to be adopted before they turn 18-21 years-old and “age out” of foster care without the support of a family.
Add to this challenge the latest developments in the worldwide COVID-19 health crisis. This pandemic has resulted in a major stand-still for waiting youth. Organizations that typically place youth in adoptive homes currently cannot move youth forward into these homes. Not only is the pandemic seriously impacting our youth—causing further anxiety and fear of never having a forever home—it has stopped the forward movement process altogether.
Agencies like Children Awaiting Parents (CAP) place available youth in certified adoptive homes, providing services to the family and ensuring a successful finalization and permanent family for the youth. But in times of crisis as we are experiencing with COVID-19, there is a complete freeze on placing or moving children to another home for health and safety reasons. It impacts the waiting youth, the waiting family, and the waiting agency.
In an effort to support families and youth waiting for one another, CAP is offering virtual services for the duration of the pandemic. For families with a current placement, we are providing a complete series of services including family support sessions, youth support sessions, skill building education, trauma training sessions, case conferencing and tele-health mental health support. For families and youth waiting to find one another, we offer certification training, virtual search-and-match, home study conferences, and support during the delay.
CAP also has moved its informational meetings and MAPP training classes online.
Free informational meetings will continue at 6 pm on the second and last Tuesday of the month through CAP Facebook Live. CAP’s free, 10-week MAPP training (Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting) for prospective foster and adoptive parents will meet online every Thursday from 6-9 p.m. beginning April 16.
For more information or to become a certified adoptive parent please email Veronica Black at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.childrenawaitingparents.org.