There are thousands of children and youth currently living in foster care and available for adoption. These children have not been able to reunify with their birth families and are often living with families who are not able to make a permanent commitment. The children are often school-age and older youth who may have experienced physical or emotional trauma in their lives. Like all children, they can thrive with the long-term stability of living with a loving family who has made a forever commitment to them.
Concurrent Planning Families are dully licensed for foster care and adoption. They provide a safe and loving home to children while they are in the process of potentially reunifying with birth parents. These families provide a stable safety net to help children/youth cope during a transitional time. The majority of these children are six years old or younger. The children we serve often have active reunification plans with their birth families, so potential adoptive families are trained in how to best support a child during that process.
If reunification is not successful, then the families are approved and committed to adopt so the child is not subjected to any further trauma or unnecessary transitions. Study after study finds concurrent planning is the best situation for children in the foster care system because the child does not experience multiple moves and achieves a permanent family quicker and with less disruptions.
Another way to become an adoptive parent is through Sierra’s Conversion Program. It is the process of a homestudy assessment for foster families and relatives who already have children in foster care living in their home, and who wish to make a permanent commitment. Sierra collaborates with many county partners to complete the homestudy assessment, and then prepares the family for the adoption process. Referrals for this program come to Sierra from county social workers.
CapKids finds forever families for Sacramento children living in foster care with one or more barriers to adoption. CapKids is a successful partnership between Sacramento County and Sierra that has found permanent homes for more than 500 children since 1994. The program focuses on child-specific recruitment for children (ages 0-11) in foster care who have one or more barriers to adoption, such as large sibling groups, medical frailty, and developmental delays.
Destination Family creates lifelong family connections for Sacramento, Nevada and Placer County youth (ages 11-18) in foster care. The goal is that no youth will age out of foster care without a permanent family connection that is legally, emotionally and physically secure.
Destination Family strives to find a place for teens to have a sense of belonging. Sierra works from a strength based, team approach to surround the youth and family with support as they transition.
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption provides Sierra with a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter to find adoptive homes for Sacramento children living in foster care. Recently released research from a five-year evaluation of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids shows that children, even older children, with mental health disorders are up to three times more likely to get adopted when referred to WWK.
Visit the Dave Thomas Foundation website for more information.