Nearly five dozen foster care children will be formally adopted during a series of hearings Saturday at the Riverside Historic Courthouse in recognition of National Adoption Awareness Month.
The Riverside County Superior Court is hosting the ceremonies, during which the adoption process will be finalized for 55 children given homes by 36 families, who live in all areas of the county, according to court officials.
The Department of Public Social Services is coordinating with the court to conduct the hearings, which will be presided over by several judges over a roughly four-hour span.
“This gives our staff and families the opportunity to celebrate adoptions made through Riverside County Children Services,” said DPSS Director Susan von Zabern. “It also gives children who have found a loving, stable and permanent home a way to celebrate their newly formed families.”
The children being adopted include toddlers and teenagers.
Until 2015, the county scheduled mass adoption events to coincide with National Adoption Day, which is traditionally the Saturday before Thanksgiving. DPSS spokeswoman Colette Crawford said the event was moved to earlier in the month because too many families complained of scheduling conflicts going into the holiday week.
Since National Adoption Day began in 2000, more than 65,000 children throughout the country have been adopted from foster care on that day, according to the National Adoption Day Coalition.
National Adoption Awareness Month is intended to focus attention on the estimated 110,000 children in foster care who are eligible for adoption.
“On any given day, more than 100 foster children are waiting for permanent adoptive homes in Riverside County,” Crawford said. “The county’s adoption program continually needs committed individuals and couples to adopt children who are among the most difficult-to-place children.”
“Children with sibling groups, minority backgrounds, children over age five and children with special medical or behavioral needs continue to wait the longest to find loving, permanent homes,” she said.
–City News Service