The Bay Area Heart Gallery Exhibit is currently showcasing photographs of 50 Bay Area foster kids who are waiting to be adopted. The traveling exhibit can be seen at the Berkeley Public Library, Central Branch and the Downtown Berkeley YMCA from October 2-31. The exhibit, which began touring on April 26, will eventually have been experienced by people in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma Counties.
According to statistics collected through 2001 and provided by the California Department of Social Services Reporting System:
· Approximately 102,000 children are in foster care in California. Almost one third of foster children are under 6 years old. Over half the children in foster care are under 11 years old. Many of these children are waiting to be adopted.
· Almost half of the children in foster care have siblings who are also in foster care.
· 31% of children in foster care are White, while a majority (69%) are of minority backgrounds. Of these, 32% of all children are Black, 33% are Hispanic, 1% are American Indian, and 3% are Asian/Pacific Islander.
· In the decade between 1983 and 1993, the number of children in foster care increased 154% in California.
An overview of the adoption process:
· Orientation: Interested individuals and couples attend an informational meeting at an Adoption Agency to learn more about the requirements of being a foster or adoptive parent.
· Foster and Adoptive Parent Training: Interested parties take a foster and adoptive parent training in order to become a licensed or certified foster parent.
· Paperwork: Completion of paperwork that is required in order to become a foster and adoptive parent.
· Adoption Home Study Process: After filling out an Adoption application and some paperwork to determine whether you meet the basic requirements, you will meet with a social worker for an initial interview to start the “Home Study” process. The home study includes discussions that will cover your personal history, family interests, and lifestyle in order to help determine the type of child or youth that would best fit in your home and to assess your readiness.
· Home Study and Application Approval: Once your home study is approved, your home may be considered for placement of a child or youth. Families are matched with children and youth based on the family’s interests, strengths, experiences, and their ability to meet the specific child or youth’s individual needs.
· Matching Children/Youth and Families: Once a child or youth has been identified, you will be given more information about them and his or her background so that you can make an informed decision about whether this is the right child/youth for your family. Then a meeting and preplacement visitation process begins. If everything goes well, the child/youth will eventually move into your home. During this period, their placement in your home is still on a foster care basis. The placement is supervised by a social worker.
· Adoption Finalization: After an adequate period of time (at least six months) of the child or youth living in your home, the adoption process is completed by going to court to finalize the adoption. The adoption process generally takes between 8 and 12 months.
The Law Offices of Scott Sagaria assists clients located in the San Francisco/San Jose Bay Area in a variety of adoption matters, including:
· Independent adoptions.
· Agency adoptions.
· International adoptions.
· Stepparent adoptions.
· Single parent adoptions.
· Contested adoption.
· Child Placement.
· Grandparent Visitation.
· Foster Parent Rights.
· Termination of Parental Rights.
Contact the Law Offices of Scott Sagaria for a free consultation.
Bay Area Heart Gallery
Why Are Children In Foster And Youth Care, Bayareaheartgallery.com
Foster Care/Adoption Statistics, Familiesforchildren.org
Related Web Resource:
A Guide To California Adoptions (PDF)