Clark County’s child welfare agency is collaborating with a nonprofit in hopes of placing over the next year more than 70 foster children who statistics indicate would otherwise have difficulty finding adoptive homes.
Teenagers, siblings of three or more and those with medical needs often face additional challenges in being adopted, county officials said Thursday at a news conference announcing the partnership.
In response, the county’s Department of Family Services is partnering with The Adoption Exchange to launch two evidence-based programs to enhance recruitment efforts and to give families hands-on training before and after adoption to help their children heal from past trauma.
“By implementing these programs, we can decrease the amount of time youth wait in foster care, connect every child with a caring adult and sustain these relationships for a lifetime,” said Jessica Roe, Nevada director of programs for The Adoption Exchange.
The nonprofit, headquartered in Aurora, Colorado, said it has placed nearly 10,000 children in states where it operates since its founding in 1983. Fifty-three percent were members of minority groups and 81 percent were at least 9 years old.
There are roughly 3,000 children in Clark County foster care, and about 500 are adopted yearly, according to the county. But approximately 100 kids in the system are waiting for adoption today.
Roe said they plan to serve at least 72 youths this year. The goal of the collaboration is to fully scale the programs to ultimately target each eligible child in county foster care and accelerate the time it takes for those at highest risk to find a permanent home.
County Commissioners Lawrence Weekly and Justin Jones addressed the joint effort with reporters. Both say they have experience with foster care and adoption: Weekly was a product of the system and Jones has two adopted children.
“I’m a prime example that if you just give a kid an opportunity, if you just give a kid that exposure, who knows, they could be a county commissioner,” Weekly joked.
Beyond adopting a son and daughter, Jones said he has also practiced as an attorney pro bono for Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, representing children in the foster care system.
Anyone considering adopting a child can go to ClarkCountyNV.gov/adoption or call 702-455-0800 for more information.