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FEATURE/Nation's Largest Adoption Day Helps Hundreds of Foster Children Find Permanent Homes; The Alliance for Children's Rights Holds Second Annual ``National Adoption Day''.

News/Lifestyle Editors



The dream of joining a permanent family will come true today for hundreds of foster children.

The Alliance for Children's Rights today announced its second annual National Adoption Day, created to facilitate the adoption of foster children across the United States. Last year's event finalized nearly 1,100 adoptions, a record for one day.

This year, it's expected more than 1,500 adoptions will be finalized nationwide in 16 cities, twice the number of cities that participated last year. In Los Angeles alone, 450 foster children will complete the adoption process and join families.

Working in cooperation with The Freddie Mac Foundation, The Alliance brings together local law firms, foster care departments, child advocates and juvenile courts for National Adoption Day to expedite the adoption process.

While many children have foster families, they can wait years for the adoption process to be completed. The Alliance accelerates the adoption process by utilizing its network of pro bono attorneys recruited from private law firms, and staff attorneys to reduce the backlog of children awaiting adoptive families.

"Every child deserves a stable and loving home environment," said Andrew Bridge, chief executive officer and general counsel, The Alliance for Children's Rights. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Bridge is a former foster child who grew up in Los Angeles County foster care from ages 6-18. He was not adopted.

"For almost 10 years, The Alliance has worked hand in hand with lawyers and the courts to help move children from foster care to adoption. If you could only see the looks on the faces of the children and the families on adoption day, you would truly understand how critical this day and every adoption day is for the children of our country who seek nothing more than a place to call home."

"The Freddie Mac Foundation's support of this effort is a highlight in our nationwide commitment to find homes for children," said Maxine B. Baker, president and CEO of The Freddie Mac Foundation, an organization dedicated to opening doors to hope and opportunity for children, youth and their families.

National Adoption Day is also supported nationally by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption and locally by Comfort for Court Kids. Adoptions will take place at events held in Chicago; Dallas; Danville, Pa.; Des Moines, Iowa; El Paso, Texas; Fort Worth, Texas; Ithaca, N.Y.; Los Angeles; New York; Omaha, Nebraska; Pittsburgh; Sacramento, Calif.; Salt Lake City; San Francisco; St. Louis; and Washington, D.C.

The Alliance's Foster Children's Adoption Project works on a daily basis to increase the number of children adopted out of foster care. The program is a comprehensive approach to foster care adoptions, combining public education and recruitment of appropriate adoptive parents, a free legal services program aimed at finalizing adoptions, and follow-up services for adopted children and their families.

In particular, there is an emphasis on children for whom adoptive families are often the most difficult to find, such as older children, children with siblings, children with physical and mental disabilities, immigrant children, and children of color.

The Alliance for Children's Rights concluded more than 1,000 adoptions in 2000 -- more than a third of all foster care adoptions completed in Los Angeles County.

Since 1984, the number of children in foster care has increased yearly. Nationwide, approximately 600,000 children are in foster care. Of these children, 127,000 are eligible for adoption, and yet in 1996, the latest data compiled, only 23,000 were adopted.

About The Freddie Mac Foundation

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Foundation's funding has helped better the lives of more than 1.2 million children. As one of the largest corporate funders in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, Freddie Mac and The Freddie Mac Foundation have invested more than $100 million in nonprofit organizations serving children and families.

About The Alliance for Children's Rights

The Alliance for Children's Rights is Los Angeles County's only nonprofit free legal services organization devoted solely to helping children living in poverty and foster care. The Alliance's mission is to ensure children get the help they need to grow into healthy and productive adults.

Since 1992, The Alliance has served more than 26,000 children. Every child The Alliance helps confronts poverty on a daily basis. For many impoverished children, The Alliance is their last hope and line of defense.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 17, 2001
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