Children's Home Society of West Virginia, Charleston, WV

"Our Families" Foster Care and Adoption Program

Abstract: In November 2008, the Children's Home Society of West Virginia launched the "Our Family" foster care and adoption initiative with the goal of increasing the number of West Virginia children being adopted into forever families. This initiative provides comprehensive pre-service training and eliminates all up-front fees and all fees for families who adopt a West Virginia child. "Our Family" removes barriers and past misconceptions about the expense or cost related to adoption and creates greater opportunity for children to have a lifetime family and for a parent or parents to grow their family. The end result is that more children have found a lifetime family. In the past six years, the number of foster care admissions has increased 294% and the number of adoptions 355%.

We also incorporated the idea that they are "Our Families" and we live by the mission and our core belief in lifetime families, life-long commitments. Children's Home Society of West Virginia is committed for the lifetime of that child and family.

Additionally, the "Our Family" initiative has resulted in an increased timeliness in instate adoptions and an average savings of 6-9 months through this process. The implementation of this initiative includes collaboration between many community partners. From an organizational perspective, "Our Family" is a replicable program and can be utilized by any child welfare agency providing foster care and adoptive services.

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