(Jan. 31, 2011) The Adoption Council of Canada (ACC) is urging the Ontario government to save money by putting foster kids into adoptive homes.
ACC said in a web site statement that provincial governments are spending unnecessarily on foster care subsidies instead of finding children permanent families.
According to the Nov. 15, 2010 statement "Ontario must act now to find homes for waiting children and youth", in Ontario alone the government could save $44,830 a year per child, since that is the cost of keeping a child in foster care.
ACC estimated that its Canada's Waiting Children program saved the province $4.9 million in 2009: "In 2009, 11 Ontario children referred to Canada's Waiting Children were placed in adoptive homes, saving taxpayers - and the province - an estimated $4.9 million."
ACC calculated the savings by multiplying $44,830 per child times the number of years each child would have stayed in foster care until leaving the system at 18.
ACC's Canada's Waiting Children (CWC) program connects children eligible for adoption with prospective adoptive parents across Canada. It gets no government funding. CWC is the only national photolisting service, and complements other more local programs such as AdoptOntario's provincial listing, and the Heart Gallery of Canada, a touring photographic gallery of waiting children.
ACC called on the Ontario government to give the 53 Children's Aid Societies (CAS) more resources, and make changes in laws and regulations so they could focus more on adoption.
In July 2008 the Ontario government convened an expert panel to advise on how to make adoption easier in the province. The 12-member panel reported in August 2009, said the province's adoption system was outdated, and recommended creating a single agency to handle all public adoptions and making Crown wards with access orders legally free for adoption. The Ontario government ignored its panel's recommendations.
The province of Ontario has about 9,200 children in foster care, yet each year finds permanent families for only about 820.
ACC urges Ontario to do more to help foster children
In its statement, ACC urged Premier Dalton McGuinty and Minister Laurel Broten to take to heart the recommendations of the expert panel, which would result in more Ontario children leaving foster care and finding permanent homes with adoptive families.
Specifically, ACC wanted to see these actions:
-- Remove the legal obstacles to finding adoptive homes for children and youth whose birth relatives still have access to them.
-- Centralize adoption services, so that more qualified families who want to adopt are more easily matched with waiting children in care of all agencies across Ontario.
-- Create guaranteed subsidies that follow children from foster care into permanent homes, to provide families with the supports they need to help children and youth succeed (counselling, respite, drug coverage, educational assistance).
-- Focus particularly on permanency for older children and youth, since there is no such thing as an unadoptable child, of any age.
-- Fund training for CAS workers in partnership with AdoptOntario and the Adoption Council of Canada on techniques for recruiting families for foster care children.
-- Fund the Canada's Waiting Children program.
Based in Ottawa, the Adoption Council of Canada is the national information and referral service for adoption in Canada. It raises public awareness of adoption, promotes the placement of waiting children and youth, and stresses the importance of post-adoption services.
The Adoption Council of Canada is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of adoptive families, adoptees, birth families and waiting children.
For more information, contact: Sarah Pedersen, Acting Executive Director, Adoption Council of Canada, 1-888-542-3678, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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