July 13, 1999 -- Springfieldís two largest hospitals, collectively
representing more than 6,000 health care workers, have joined a statewide
adoption recruitment initiative to find adoptive homes for children in
the care of the Department of Children and Family Services.
St. Johnís Hospital and Memorial Health System join 31 other hospitals
statewide in the Corporate Partnerships for the Recruitment of Adoptive
Families campaign, which develops partnerships between local child welfare
agencies and corporations in their communities to recruit adoptive families
for DCFS wards.
corporation works with a local child welfare agency, or with DCFS directly,
to plan recruitment activities targeting their employees. DCFS also supports
the corporations by providing technical support and training, as well
as posters, banners, brochures and other recruiting materials. In addition,
DCFS provides a matching specialist to work with licensed families.
already a leader in adoption recruitment," said DCFS Director Jess
McDonald, noting that Illinois received the national Adoption 2002 Excellence
Award last year for exceeding President Clintonís challenge to states
to double adoption rates by the year 2002.
McDonald added, "there are 696 waiting children whose parental rights
have been terminated and who could be immediately placed were there adoptive
homes available. Thirty-one available children live in Sangamon County.
This initiative will help us recruit families who are willing to open
their homes and hearts to these children."
programís inception, 200 families from Illinois hospitals have expressed
interest in adopting through the program.
of St. Johnís Hospital and Memorial Health System called the adoption
initiative an important step in their organizationsí growing efforts
to serve the community.
who choose to work in healthcare are especially attuned to providing a
nurturing environment," said St. Johnís Hospital CEO Al Laabs.
"This partnering to recruit adoptive families among our employees
evolves naturally from St. Johnís values of care and respect."
of Memorialís mission to improve the health of our community, we are
pleased to participate in this adoption awareness initiative," added
Robert Clarke, CEO of Memorial Health System. "We feel a special commitment
to heighten the awareness of waiting children, particularly those with special
physical and emotional needs."
president of the Illinois Hospital and HealthSystems Association,
added that his
organization chose to become the first corporate partner and to play a lead
role in recruiting hospitals to participate in the year-old adoption initiative
because hospital employees offer special advantages as adoptive parents.
fits with our mission of strengthening communities, helping families,
and meeting social needs," Robbins explained. "People who work
for hospitals tend to be compassionate, service-oriented folks who want
to help people, and many of them would make wonderful adoptive families."
child welfare agencies will work with St. Johnís Hospital and Memorial
Health System to plan recruitment activities. The agencies include Family
Service Center, Lutheran Child and Family Services, Catholic Charities
of Springfield, and Camelot Care Centers, Inc.
an increased emphasis by DCFS and private agency staff to find permanent
placements for eligible children, adoptions of children in DCFS care nearly
doubled in Fiscal Year 1998 Ė to a record 4,293 adoptions.
expect to see another record year for adoptions when the final numbers
for Fiscal Year1999 are released this month," said Director McDonald.
13 hospitals will kick off recruitment efforts bringing to a total of
33, the number of Illinois hospitals signed onto the initiative.
demand for more adoptive homes will continue to grow as the full effects
of reforms are felt. Thatís why the Corporate Partnerships for Recruitment
of Adoptive Families campaign is so important," McDonald said.
Adoption is an option to all who qualify, including married couples, single
males and females, renters and homeowners. Financial and technical adoption
assistance may be available both before and after a child in DCFS care is
hotline (800-572-2390) is available to answer questions and to help families
begin the adoption process.