DURING ADOPTION AWARENESS MONTH
IL, NOVEMBER 17, 1997 -- For Cassaundra Wash of Country Club Hills,
the desire to adopt a child began after her 32nd birthday when, in her
words, she was hit by "the mommy bug."
Thatís when she turned to the Illinois Department of Children and
Family Services, an agency that is the legal guardian of hundreds of
Illinois children who are awaiting loving and stable families.
Jim Edgar has proclaimed November, 1997 Adoption Awareness Month. It
is a time to salute special parents like Wash who have opened their
homes and their hearts to children in need, and to highlight the overwhelming
need nationwide for prospective parents to provide permanent, nurturing
homes for these children.
has a unique perspective on that need. She is field counsel for the
Illinois Department of Children and Family Servicesí Cook South
region. She says the prospect of suddenly becoming a parent didnít
daunt her. She had something else to worry about.
had no qualms about being a mom. It was handling the single life while
being a single mom," said Wash, who went from a lakefront condo
and sports car to single-family home and sedan.
Illinois, children of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are waiting
for parents to make a difference in their lives. These are children
who need families who will help them grow and develop to their fullest
potential. They are children who need love, guidance and a sense of
belonging that only a family can provide.
a result of this need, throughout the month of November, the Illinois
Department of Children and Family Services, the One Church One Child
Program, the Child Care Association of Illinois, and the Adoption Information
Center of Illinois have planned numerous events that will help in the
recruiting of prospective adoptive parents. Any of these agencies can
be contacted for additional information.
during the entire month, adoption supporters are being asked to celebrate
Adoption Awareness Month by wearing a white ribbon, and publishers are
asked to print public service ads that seek adoptive parents in their
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is committed to
finding safe and happy homes for the hundreds of children under its
guardianship who are currently available for adoption. Because of a
stronger emphasis on adoption and permanent placement for children,
adoptions have nearly doubled between 1994, when there were 1,200 adoptions,
and 1996, when 2,229 adoptions were finalized.
year, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has set
the target of tripling adoptions, a target that is achievable due to
an increase in adoption personnel, and the Omnibus Permanency Initiative
of 1997, a bipartisan legislative agenda that includes the tightening
up of time frames to move children to permanence.
are dozens of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services staff
members--from the executive level to the front lines--who are so committed
to the effort that they have adopted many of these children themselves.
Wash and other staff are willing to share their experiences with the
media. "I have different priorities now. My life is more structured.
(Becoming a parent) has settled me down," said Wash. "I love