Windsor Star

Children need loving families

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The Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society agrees with The Star’s editorial comment regarding Ontario’s adoptions that “children raised in stable, loving families have the best shot at leading successful lives.”

From the moment that a family encounters the services of a children’s aid society, we are discussing permanency. Permanency planning is rooted in what is in the best interest for that child or sibling group.

The best permanency plan for children and youth is the work done by CASS to keep families together — this accounts for the majority of the services provided by a children’s aid society. When a child or youth cannot stay at home for safety reasons and must become a Crown ward, CASS develop a permanency plan, in which adoption is always considered.

In the past three years, WECAS has facilitate­d the adoptions of 99 children and youth with one-quarter of these adoptions by foster parents.

Right now in Windsor-Essex, we have 59 children available for adoption with 56 of these children between the ages of five and 16. Many people looking to start or grow their families are not aware that there are older children available for adoption who need families.

As children get older, they are more aware of what fam- ily means to them. They start to think about their future and where they will go for the holidays, or who will walk them down the aisle. The need for a family does not diminish as a child gets older.

Provincial­ly, completed adoptions have increased by 21 per cent. This is a big step in the right direction but more children and youth are still in need of a permanent family.

We encouraged the government to consider changes that will increase the number of children and youth who get adopted in Ontario: increase subsidies to adoptive parents who are interested in adopting a child with special needs (learning disabiliti­es, etc.); provide health and dental care support to adoptive children and youth; increase the number of funded adoption workers to increase the number of completed adoptions in a timely manner; and assist to educate the public about adoption and recruit adoptive parents and families.

There is a strong, provincial process currently in place called the Adoption Resource Exchange.

This process allows for approved adoptive families who are working with private adop- tion practition­ers or public CAS adoption workers to find the best family match for children waiting for a permanent home.

Do we need one central agency to handle adoptions? It is up to the government to address the recommenda­tions put forth from the Expert Panel on Infertilit­y and Adoption. However, we all seem to have the same goal — to help more children and youth find permanent homes and assist more Ontarians to build their families through adoption. WILLIAM BEVAN, executive director, Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society

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Paul Lachine illustrati­on

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