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September 19, 2018

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Local adoption efforts receives a boost

Allen County Children Services has been awarded funding for two adoption
recruitment specialists from Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Program. WWK is a
signature program of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

The foundation awards grants to public and private adoption agencies to hire adoption
professionals who implement proactive, child focused recruitment programs
targeted exclusively on moving the longest waiting children from foster care
into adoptive families.

A five-year independent control group evaluation of the program found children served by WWK were two to three times more likely to be adopted than those not served by the program.

Amber Martin, a caseworker with ACCS for the past six years will be one
of the adoption recruiters, current adoption licensing specialist and 4 year
ACCS employee Jessica Parsley, MSW, will be the other.

The first year of the potentially three year grant is being funded at nearly $135,000
by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The regional area to be
covered by the adoption specialists includes five counties: Allen, Auglaize,
Hardin, Mercer and Van Wert.

The state is spending more than $2 million this year to hire 35 specialized, child-focused recruiters who will be trained by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to locate adoptive families for children over the age of 9.

The recruiters will follow the Wendy's Wonderful Kids child-focused
recruitment model, working with a small number of children and focusing on
finding the perfect match for each one.

Seven recruiters have been working in Ohio since 2004 and have helped finalize nearly 200 adoptions. According to research released by the foundation, older children in the program are up to three times more likely to be adopted. It's the individual attention they provide that makes the difference.  Currently, more than 1,000 young Ohioans between the ages of 9 and 17 have been in foster care for more than two years. Overall, close to 12,000 children are in foster care in the state.

ACCS is also receiving more than $42,000 in adoption incentive money from the Ohio Office of Family & Children. The money is being awarded to the agency for its successful adoption efforts. The state expected ACCS to have nine adoptions in fiscal year 2012 but the agency exceeded that amount with 16 children being adopted. Allen County was ranked fifth in Ohio.

For more information contact ACCS Executive Director Scott Ferris at 419-227-8590