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Arapahoe County News

Posted on: October 28, 2021

Arapahoe County Human Services to mark National Adoption Day on Nov. 12

November is National Adoption Month

As November rolls around, the Arapahoe County Human Services team is gearing up for another productive and inspiring National Adoption Month. Each year, we focus our outreach and awareness-raising efforts around an adoption-related theme to help support our professionals who dedicate every day to finding permanent homes for the children and youth who are in foster care in our communities. 

On Friday, Nov. 12, Arapahoe County is celebrating National Adoption Day—which is officially Saturday, Nov. 20—at the District Courthouse, 7325 S. Potomac St. in Centennial. This will include a COVID-safe celebration in a jury room, with guests including Human Services and elected officials, as well as invitees from the approximately dozen families who will formalize their adoptions that day. The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the adoption hearings will begin at 9:30 a.m. in three courtrooms, which will be decorated with dolls, blankets, toys and books. Details are subject to change, and there currently is a mask mandate for anyone age 3 and older.

“It’s important for the public to know that adoptive families are valued and that there is an ongoing need for foster and adoptive families,” said District 2 Commissioner Nancy Sharpe. “There is support available to families who adopt, and the state of Colorado is continuing to expand its resources for adoptive families. Most importantly, every child deserves a loving, supportive family!”

The County adoption team has had a busy 2021. Among the highlights:

  • 59 adoptions were finalized between Jan-Oct. 2021
  • We’re anticipating 20 total adoptions on National Adoption Day and approximately 10 more by the end of 2021, for a total of about 90 for the year!
  • We are recruiting families for approximately 30 children and youth who are in need of an adoptive home on any given day.
  • Arapahoe County currently has 566 children and youth in out-of-home placement, and 236 of them are in foster care. 
  • On any given day, the placement desk has 50-70 children they are working to find placements for across all three counties; 25 of those placements are specifically in Arapahoe County.
  • The County has 93 certified foster and kinship homes, but only 13 of those homes are currently available for placement. 
  • The CFCP has 148 certified foster care homes. Of the 229 total beds across those homes, there are only 35 available beds right now across all three counties.

More information

This year's National Adoption Month theme is "Conversations Matter," which refers to how incorporating youth engagement into daily child welfare practice can start with a simple conversation. We have focused our efforts on adoption for teens because we know that teens in foster care wait longer for permanency and are at higher risk of aging out than younger children. These teens need love, support, and a sense of belonging that families can provide. Securing lifelong connections for these teens, both legally and emotionally, is a critical component in determining their future achievement, health, and wellbeing. By listening to what each young person has to say, what their goals are, and how they feel about adoption, we can create an environment where they can be honest and ask questions.

Among the key statistics:

Source: Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS)

  • There are over 122,000 children and youth waiting to be adopted who are at risk of aging out of foster care without permanent family connections.
  • Approximately one in five children waiting to be adopted in the U.S. foster care system are teens.
  • Teens 15-18 years old wait significantly longer for permanency compared to their peers.
  • Only 5 percent of all children adopted in 2019 were 15-18 years old.
  • The risk of homelessness and human trafficking is increased for teenagers in foster care. According to the most recent AFCARS report, of the 122,000 children and youth waiting to be adopted:
    • 52 percent are male
    • 48 percent are female
    • 22 percent are African American
    • 22 percent are Hispanic
    • 44 percent are white
    • The average age is eight years old
    • 11 percent are between 15 and 18 years old
    • Average time in foster care is 31 months

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