A legislative Column by Assemblyman Will Barclay
I wanted to take some time this week to draw attention to a great event. Onondaga County will host its annual National Adoption Day on Nov. 18. More than 500 guests are expected to attend. It’s a big day for many families. Many children are officially adopted on this day and a bell is rung each time a child is legally joined with a family, commemorating the special occasion. Others share their stories about being adopted or adopting a child to encourage other families to consider foster care or adoption.
National Adoption Day helps raise awareness of the estimated 436,000 children waiting to be adopted nationwide and builds collaboration among agencies, courts and advocacy organizations. Some 35,000 adoptions will be finalized across the nation on National Adoption Day. Unfortunately, not everyone is paired with a family. Each year more than 29,000 children will reach adulthood and be released from foster care into the world with no family. In Central New York alone there are approximately 341 children ready for adoption, yet experts estimate that half will not been suited with a new family.
This year the New York State Office of Children and Family Services partnered with local social services districts to institute a pilot program to help streamline how payments are made to parents receiving adoption subsidies. Adoptive parents receive their subsidy benefits as a direct deposit to checking accounts or through a debit card. Onondaga County was one of three counties included in the pilot program. The rest of the state is expected to follow suit. This is expected to provide some cost savings to counties.
The state maintains an Adoption Services website through the Office of Children and Family Services which can be viewed at www.ocfs.state.ny.us/adopt. There is a good deal of information on here that answers frequently asked questions about adoption. It also points users to adoption resources and enables them to view a video gallery of children who are available to adopt. For more information, call 1-800-345-KIDS. For those who are adopted or are the sibling of an adopted member and would like to learn more about the birth families, visit www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/adoption.htm.
If you and your family have a child in your home and wish to possibly finalize his or her adoption on National Adoption Day, please contact your caseworker, attorney or Family Court Adoption Clerk. For more information or questions about the event or National Adoption Day, please call Amy Cimino, Adoption Clerk for the Onondaga County Family Court at 315-671-4248 or email at [email protected]
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185. You may also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.