Canadian adoption activist wins NACAC award

(June 17, 2011)   In August the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) will honour André Fontaine of the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa, Ontario. He will receive an Adoption Activist award for advocating for children's and youth's rights.

NACAC will present adoption awards at its 37th annual conference, Aug. 4-6, 2011 in Denver CO. Three presentations feature Canadians: 1L: Open Adoption, Opens Hearts: Jennifer Gerrits, Saint John Adoptive Parents Association. 2J: Finding a Permanent Family before the Child is Legally Free: the Québec model: Geneviève Page, University of Montréal, Hélène Tremblay, Centre de Jeunesse de la Montérégie, Québec. INST 11: Forming Adoptee and Adoptive Family Identity: Psychological & Communication Perspectives: Robert Ballard, University of Waterloo, with Gregory Keck of Ohio.

At its annual awards ceremony NACAC honors special individuals, groups and organizations who have devoted their time to promoting adoption and improving child welfare.

NACAC was founded by adoptive parents in Montreal in 1974. Its annual conference is held mostly in the U.S., with Canadian cities chosen every five or six years. It was held in Ottawa in 1992, in Toronto in 1997, in Vancouver in 2003 and in Ottawa in 2008.

Here is the tribute to André Fontaine, as published in the Spring 2011 edition of NACAC's Adoptalk newsletter.

      In 1994, André Fontaine became a foster parent for teens and pre-teens. More than 10 years later, he and his partner D'Arcy adopted a 16-year-old boy whom they had been fostering for five years. In 2007 André, a committed and proven advocate for children's and youth's rights, joined the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa (CASO) as its foster/adoptive family recruiter.

CASO's director, Barbara MacKinnon, explains that André's work "reflects his belief that every child deserves a family, and enables him to work creatively when seeking placements". André was also instrumental in working with the Adoption Council of Canada to launch Canada's first Heart Gallery in April 2010. Twelve of the 18 children featured have been placed with permanent families.

According to Noelle Burke, Adopt Ontario's clinical coordinator, "It's a rare gift when one gets to be inspired by a champion who makes it all so simple -- who believes ... that there is a family for every kid and we just have to do everything possible to find that family. Thanks to André, there is no box to confine us in this purpose." As his work shows, André is a model adoption activist.

You may reproduce this item with the credit:
"From Family Helper,"