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WEDNESDAY’S CHILD TO HELP FIND HOMES FOR CHICAGO AREA FOSTER CHILDREN

Rosati to Host Weekly Adoption Feature
Airing Wednesdays on NBC 5 Chicago

Springfield, July 26, 1999 --Wednesday’s Child, a weekly televised adoption feature, is coming to Chicago’s NBC 5 on July 28 to help recruit families for Chicago-area foster children who need immediate adoptive homes, thanks to a cooperative program announced today by the Freddie Mac Foundation, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), and NBC 5.
Starting this week on NBC 5’s 6:00 pm newscast, NBC 5 Anchor/Reporter Allison Rosati, a former foster child, will host segments featuring special needs children in foster care. The features will air weekly on Wednesdays as well as on NBC 5’s Sunday morning newscasts.

Wednesday’s Child will generate awareness about the 30,000 Chicago-area children in foster care as well as strive to find loving families for the 600 children who immediately need an adoptive home. A two-year, $930,000 grant from the Freddie Mac Foundation to DCFS is helping make Wednesday’s Child possible.

"The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is pleased to be included in this significant national initiative that will make a difference in the lives of many Illinois children," said Governor George H. Ryan. "Illinois currently leads the nation in adoptions of children in state care, and Wednesday's Child will supplement our continuing efforts to find loving, permanent homes for our children.""Wednesday’s Child is an award-winning program with a track record of success, and we are proud to expand our support of this program from Washington, DC and New York City to now include Chicago. Along with our partners—NBC 5 and DCFS—we look forward to brightening the future for more of Chicago’s children.," said Leland C. Brendsel, chairman and CEO, Freddie Mac, and chairman, Freddie Mac Foundation.

The Wednesday’s Child segment will profile children in the care of DCFS who fall into the "hard to place" or "special needs" categories, meaning they are older children or part of a large sibling group, or children with special medical or physical needs. Each spot will provide viewers with the DCFS adoptive parent recruitment hotline (1-800-572-2390) to call for more information. DCFS, with assistance from the non-profit Adoption Information Center of Illinois, will answer hotline calls, identify children, and match children with prospective parents.

"On behalf of the waiting children of Illinois, I would like to thank the Freddie Mac Foundation for bringing Wednesday’s Child to Illinois," said DCFS Director Jess McDonald. "The program’s proven success is particularly uplifting. We are optimistic that Illinois, which received the Adoption 2002 Excellence Award from the White House last year for nearly doubling adoptions, will mirror, if not expand, the program’s already proven success thus far!"

According to Larry Wert, President and General Manager, NBC 5 Chicago, "We at NBC 5 believe the Wednesday's Child program is a wonderful way to help find loving parents and homes for the many deserving children of Illinois. We also hope this informative program will inspire people who have never before considered adoption to be open to the idea."

NBC 5 Chicago Anchor/Reporter Allison Rosati said, "I feel truly blessed to bring our viewers Wednesday's Child. As a mother and a former foster child, I know how much children want a place to belong, a place to call home and a family to love."

The program is patterned after the successful Wednesday’s Child show that airs on NBC 4 in Washington, DC. In its seven years, the feature has placed more than 125 children—40 percent of the featured children—and has generated thousands of viewer inquiries about adoption.

The Wednesday’s Child launch in Chicago is part of the Freddie Mac Foundation’s campaign to increase adoptions nationwide called "Wednesday’s Child USA." Currently, more than 500,000 children are in foster care in the United States. The Foundation is focused on finding more adoptive homes for the 100,000 children currently available for adoption by sponsoring Wednesday’s Child television programs in Washington, DC, New York City, and now Chicago. To further support the campaign, the Foundation raises funds from Freddie Mac’s business partners through its Wednesday’s Child 5K race series.

For more information about Wednesday’s Child, visit the NBC 5 web site at www.NBC5.com.

###

Created by Freddie Mac in 1990, the Freddie Mac Foundation is dedicated to brightening the future for children, youth, and families at risk. As the largest corporate funder in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, the Freddie Mac and the Freddie Mac Foundation have invested more than $50 million in nonprofit organizations serving children and families. For more information, visit our web site at: www.freddiemacfoundation.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was established in 1964 to protect children who are reported to be abused or neglected and to increase families’ capacity to safely care for their children. DCFS provides for the well-being of children in state care; provides appropriate, permanent families as quickly as possible for those children who cannot safely return home; supports early intervention and child abuse prevention activities by partnering with communities to fulfill our mission. For more information, visit our web site at: http://www.state.il.us/dcfs


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