Buncombe County, N.C.,- Thanks to the efforts of the families, children, and our community and staff, 72 children achieved permanency with their forever families through adoption July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 in Buncombe County. Ten of these adoptions were finalized after the onset of COVID-19. This is a testament to the hard work of the Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) Social Work Staff, children, and families and illustrates how a strong focus on finding permanency from day one and centering the needs of children leads to better outcomes.
National Adoption Month is recognized annually in November throughout the nation as a time to raise awareness about the urgent need for adoptive families for children and youth in foster care. Children sometimes enter into foster care due to a background of abuse or neglect and while it is preferable for children to be with their birth family, sometimes it is not possible to safely reunify with children with their families. Children and young adults need loving families where they can find security and stability and adoptive parents can provide that very basic comfort each child deserves.
There are currently 298 children and 26 young adults age 18-21 in custody in Buncombe County. There are 32 children and young adults who are legally free for adoption and looking for a forever family in Buncombe County. BCHHS would like to remind the community that foster and adoptive parents are needed and that there are resources and training for those who are considering this option.
Nationally, the most recent Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, (AFCARS) shows that 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. Further, approximately one in five children in the U.S. foster care system waiting to be adopted are teens and only 5 percent of all children adopted in 2019 were 15 - 18 years old.
Social Work Director, Rebecca Smith, says that there can be barriers to adoption for some children in Buncombe County. Smith says, “Sometimes it can be hard to find foster and adoptive families for large sibling sets or teens and young adults. Sadly, this is a nationwide trend and it is so tough the longer kids are in foster care and the more placements they have, the less likely they are to achieve permanency. They really need a solid, permanent placement to offset the trauma that they have been through in their lives.”
The Adoptions Team continues to strengthen their approach to ensuring timely permanence for children in foster care. Through the addition of a Kinship Support Specialist, staff are able to identify and work with family throughout the process to help children find a stable placement with a family member or other stable caregiver.
BCHHS would like to thank all who have been a part of the adoptive process for a child. For more information on foster and adoptive parenting in Buncombe County, visit www.buncombecounty.org/foster or call the Foster Care Team at (828) 250-5868 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.