Monday, March 14, 2011

Black Owned Adoption Agency Aims to Build Families and Find Homes for African American Children

By Froswa' Booker-Drew
Contributor, BlackGivesBack Dallas/Fort Worth

According to Adoption.com, “Of the estimated 500,000 children in the U.S. foster home system, more than half are minorities. Of those available for adoption, 40 percent are black, although blacks represent only about 13 percent of the general population. What is more, according to the National Adoption Center, which keeps track of hard-to-place children, about 67 percent of such children are black and 26 percent are white, while 67 percent of the waiting families are white and 31 percent are black.” These alarming statistics over the years compelled Rose Jones, founder of Children and Family Institute of Dallas, Texas to create an agency that would make a difference for African American children and families.

Established in 1993, Jones shares, “God put it on my heart to create an adoption agency that would specialize in finding homes for African American children and other children of color. Our mission is to provide permanent homes for children in need and provide human services to restore, build and strengthen the family and we do that through parenting and life skills classes called Pathways to Parenting. We help parents obtain the tools and information to keep their children from being a part of the system.” The agency works with more than 200 birth mothers a year.

Jones, a degreed, Master-level Social Worker was employed with Child Protective Services with the State of Texas for over seven years. During that time, she noticed the challenges of finding homes for African American children and saw the barriers that African American families faced when they went to the state to adopt. “Many were intimidated by the paperwork that they had to complete. I saw a gap in the community as far as services were concerned. I saw a need and I was angry seeing children not getting their needs met and I wanted to fix it.”

“African Americans are disproportionately represented in the foster care system. It has been that way for more than twenty years, and why is it that our children are not moving faster into homes? Something is wrong with that—it is something wrong with so many of our children being in the system. We need to advocate for our children. ” says Jones.

Starting the agency was a challenge. Jones had a difficult time with funding and others sharing information. “I knew how the state ran things but private industry was different. People were discouraging. People asked if I had a track record. They said I couldn’t do it. I went into my savings to start the agency. I couldn’t get any funds so I did it for free. I gave my time, found volunteers and made it happen.”

Rose also recognizes the consequences of black foster care children who wind up in the juvenile justice system as adolescents who then are at a higher risk to experience homelessness, alcohol and drug dependence and other problems.

“Children are not being prepared to be independent adults when growing up in this system due to the instability. If children who live with their birth parents are staying home until their late twenties, how is it that we expect these children to leave foster care at 18 and function? Your connection to another adult is cut off then. They are expected to go out in the world and take care of themselves. You have not been prepared except to go into another system. When I started looking at the issue of homelessness and children in foster care, that really bothered me. These children are being set up. They don’t have a real attachment. If they haven’t received loved and have been passed around, what can you expect?”

Jones and others are trying to change those odds. A consortium of Black owned adoption agencies has started this fall to provide support and resources to the less than 20 agencies around the country. Started by Ruth Amerson, an adoption placement agency owner in South Carolina, the group wants to ensure long-term sustainability of the existing agencies. Several agencies have closed in the past due to a lack of funding and support. There are less than 20 African American adoption agencies around the country. “We don’t want to reinvent the wheel but we want to come together to share and support our efforts. There is no one else like us and does the work like we do it.”

Jones is an optimist and is committed to her calling to saving our children and our families. “I want to decrease the number of children in foster care. I want to help parents become good parents and find purpose in life. If you can be the best you can be you will be a good parent. I want to do that with all of my heart.”

Visit the website at http://www.cfiadopt.org/ and contact Rose Jones at rjones@cfiadopt.org.

1 comment:

Liz aka: AntiDumb said...

This is so wonderful, it's amazing how God made all type of people that have all types of spirit. This women has a hard task, but she is inspired and determined to try.

I have a desire to attack the ENERGY of this culture so I come across really mean. Though I'm mean in a righteous way. It's so great to see a balance.

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