893 La. children adopted last year; second highest on record
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) held its 21st Annual Adoption Celebration at the Governor’s Mansion today (Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019) to celebrate the 893 children who found loving, permanent homes with 661 families during the 2019 federal fiscal year (FFY).
The number of adoptions finalized between Oct. 1, 2018 and Sept. 30, 2019, is the state’s second-highest number of adoptions from foster care in a single year, falling just behind the record set last year with 912 adoptions. The third-highest number of adoptions was in FFY 2017, when 771 children found permanency through adoption.
“It warms our hearts to know that almost 900 children will be spending Thanksgiving with permanent families. The fact that even more of them were teens and siblings gives us even more to celebrate. We’re grateful we were able to help build new lives for so many children and young people in Louisiana,” DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters said.
The Department’s work to increase permanency for youth helped boost the number of adoptions of teens (ages 13-17) by 22%, rising from 68 in FFY 2018 to 83 in FFY 2019. Teens also made up a larger percentage of the total number of children adopted - 9% of the 893 adopted this year, compared to 7% of the 912 adopted last year.
Sibling adoptions also increased, with 179 of this year’s 661 families (27%) adopting more than one child, including 164 families (24.8%) who adopted siblings. Last year, 143 of 631 families (22.7%) adopted siblings.
Twenty-five of this year’s adoptions were completed by Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters, including 8 by Lafayette Region recruiter Patricia Hebert, whom the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption named one of its Recruiters of the Year. Wendy’s recruiters take on some of the most challenging and complex cases - including teens, sibling groups and children with medical or special needs - to help more children and youth reach the permanency they deserve.
DCFS’s partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is one of several national partnerships that have helped strengthen the state’s child welfare system and led to increased permanency for children and youth in foster care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cited those “extraordinary contributions” toward permanency in awarding Louisiana an Adoption Excellence Award for 2019.