Dozens of children in Central Texas will find forever homes this week

Toys, gifts at Wiliamson County adoption event
Toys, gifts at Wiliamson County adoption event (KXAN Photo/Lauren Kravets)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Nov. 3, dozens of children in Travis County will leave foster care and find their forever homes. It’s all part of National Adoption Day, which raises awareness for the need for foster and adoptive families.

Family court Judge Darlene Byrne joined KXAN News Today to talk about why the need for foster families is so important and how it can lead to children finding their permanent family.

The Department of Family and Protective Services says the shortage of foster parents has led to hundreds of children having to sleep in state office buildings instead of a real bedroom this year. Child Protective Services says the influx of foster children without placement occurred after several facilities across Texas closed down.

Region 7, which covers 30 counties (including Travis County) had 1,722 children in foster care in April 2016. The average number of Texas children awaiting adoption increased by 31 percent over the last decade, but declined by almost 2 percent over the last year. Meanwhile, the number of children adopted from state care in Texas increased 3.2 percent over the last year and 68 percent over the last decade.

Judge Byrne says Adoption Day for her is a bigger deal than Christmas.

“We are so excited to make these 53 children and their family’s whole, forever, complete. It’s incredibly exciting,” says Judge Byrne of the upcoming Adoption Day. “There are no boundaries in making families and making a child’s life whole.”

To learn about becoming a foster parent or adopting a child, check these resources:

Adoption by the Numbers

  • 6,596 – The monthly average number of children in Texas Foster Care who were awaiting adoption last year. This was a 2 percent decline from the previous year.
  • 6,388 – The number of children in DFPS care who were awaiting adoption as of September 2016 (latest data available).
  • 5,672 – The number of children adopted from Texas foster care in fiscal year 2016. That is 3.2 percent increase from the previous year.
  • 21 – The minimum age to be eligible to adopt a child in Texas.

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