November is National Adoption Month, a national effort to raise awareness about children in foster care waiting for permanent families. Today, I want to share a message from our Child Welfare Director and our Permanency Manager about the importance of keeping brothers and sisters together, whenever we can, in adoption placements. Oregon does a very good job in that because we know how important those connections can be.
This year, I’ve been especially struck by the official theme song for the 2014 celebration. It’s called “Home,” and it is a powerful, emotional statement about the importance of permanency for children – and really, for everyone. You can hear the song on this YouTube video. We believe every Oregon child deserves to grow up in a safe and loving family, free from abuse and neglect, with support for success in school – and that’s why we support National Adoption Month.
Have a great week, and keep reading for an important message about sibling connections and Camp To Belong.
Honor Sibling Connections during National Adoption Month
Message from DHS Child Welfare Director Lois Ann Day and Permanency Manager Kathy Prouty
November is National Adoption Month, a time to raise awareness about the more than 100,000 children and youth in the U.S. foster care system, some of whom are in sibling groups awaiting adoptive families. The focus of this year’s initiative, “Promoting and Supporting Sibling Connections,” highlights the importance of sibling bonds for children’s development and emotional well-being.
In 2013, 82 percent of Oregon’s foster children who were part of a sibling group were placed together. When we are not able to do this, siblings can reunite and build lifelong memories through Camp To Belong. Over the past 10 years, Oregon chapter of Camp To Belong has reunited more than 1400 youth and their siblings. Camp To Belong provides a week of summer camp for siblings who have been separated in foster care, guardianship, or adoption. The camp is designed to provide a sense of belonging to youth as individuals and as siblings, giving them meaningful opportunities to deepen their bond, create memories and build friendships with other campers.
The all-volunteer run non-profit organization is sponsored by Oregon Foster Parent Association and is dependent entirely on donations. Every year, the Child Permanency Program helps raise money for the camp. This year, the program is holding a silent auction November 17-19. To be auctioned off are gift baskets donated by branch offices and various program areas here in Central Office. The lobby will also feature various program related displays throughout the month. Please take some time to stop and make a bid to help support Camp To Belong.
This month, let us reaffirm our commitment to provide all children with every chance to reach their dreams of a safe and nurturing family and to preserve and promote their connections with their siblings. Please visit the Website for more information about adopting a foster child or sibling group or call 1-800-331-0503.