Sad to say, that answer has changed to “about 400.” The numbers have gradually climbed over the past three years to what is now probably an all-time high. We can attribute it to the opioid epidemic and rising incidences of other substance abuse, domestic violence and untreated mental illness.
Regardless of the reason, the results are not positive: 400 children who need loving homes.
That is too many. But we are doing everything we can to ensure their stories have happy endings.
Our first choice is always to reunify the family. If that cannot be done safely, we look for other relatives or close friends to care for the children. We recently started a new nationally-recognized program called 30 Days to Family that is designed to improve efforts to find suitable kinship placements for our children.
But if that doesn’t work, the final option is foster care. From there, if a judge determines there is no chance of reunification with family, we must pursue adoption to a loving family.
Finding adoptive homes is a great challenge for our agency. But we are up for it, and we are employing new and creative tactics to meet the challenge. Last year, we facilitated 141 adoptions and this year we are already at 122.
We work aggressively and urgently to help children find their “forever” families.
These children are like any other children. They come from a variety of backgrounds, neighborhoods, economic circumstances and living situations. They all bring their own personalities, strengths, interests and gifts. They have hopes and dreams, favorite toys and pastimes, and differing career aspirations. They deserve our best when it comes to finding a loving home.
We have designated recruiters who search for relatives or other adults who might have a connection to the child and be willing to adopt. They also work to introduce that child to the hundreds of thousands of potential parents in this country who are looking to adopt on any given day.
One way we introduce our children is through our website, HCKids.org. If you visit our site, you will see colorful pictures, biographies and even videos of the children who are available for adoption. We use social media and our newsletters to drive people to the site so they can learn more about our children.
Another way we help spread the word is through a partnership with Grant Me Hope. Grant Me Hope helps arrange and fund advertising to showcase children. Grant Me Hope shoots videos of our children and has partnered with WCPO Channel 9 to air those videos on a regular basis.
One new way to highlight our children is a show on CitiCable, the city of Cincinnati’s government access channel. The show, called HCKids, will feature videos of some of our children. We will switch them out periodically so as many as possible are featured. Check back here in our newsletter, on our website or on our social media sites for air dates and times.
If a prospective parent shows interest in a child, there could be a personal introduction, or there might be a group event where a prospective parent can be exposed to many children.
The challenge has never been greater and we are rising to meet it. But we need your help. If you or someone you know is interested, please visit our website, HCKids, to meet our children.
There are 400 reasons why.