Public Counsel/Alliance for Childrenâ€™s Rights Awarded Everychildâ€™s 2012 $1 Million Grant
Judge Michael Nash of the Los Angeles Childrenâ€™s Court congratulates a family on National Adoption Day 2011.
The team of Public Counsel and the Alliance for Childrenâ€™s Rights has been selected to receive the 2012 $1 million grant from the Everychild Foundation.
The grant will help create the first large-scale project in the nation to provide comprehensive legal and social services to adoptive and guardianship families within Los Angeles in order to assure the placements succeed.
Called the “Everychild Families Forever Project”, the grant will enable the two agencies to ensure that adopted and guardianship children and their families can take advantage of the full continuum of services and benefits available that will help them to thrive.
Two Agencies Working Together
Public Council is the largest pro bono law firms in the country. One of its major goals is to protect the rights of disadvantaged children. The Alliance for Childrenâ€™s Rights focuses solely on protecting the rights of abused and impoverished children.
Although both agencies have worked together for many years to help complete adoptions and guardianships, they realize there is a crisis of poor long-term outcomes for many children adopted from foster care.
LAâ€™s Foster Care System
The Los Angeles County foster care system is the largest in the nation with 25,000 children living in out-of-home care. Research shows that children fare better in adoptive or guardianship families than in institutions or long-term foster care.
However, many of these children have untreated mental health problems that lead to poor outcomes. Further, up to 10 percent of foster care adoptions “disrupt”, and the children go back into the system.
While more than 75 percent of adoptive parents need one or more post adoptive services, less than half actually receive them.
The two-year project will provide the following services:
1. Early Outreach to Families
2. Comprehensive Needs Assessment
3. Pre- and Post-Adoption Advocacy
4. Completion of Adoptions and Guardianships
5. Long-term Follow up
6. Post-Adoption/Guardianship Study
Grant funds will be used for personnel to provide the services and for project implementation. Funds will support four new staff positions and a total of 14 full-time and part time existing staff.
Over two years, 2,900 adoptions and guardianships will be completed, an increase of 400 over current levels. Of those families, 2,230 will receive a comprehensive needs assessment, 870 children will receive critical services and supports for special education needs, 580 will receive supports for mental health needs and 725 families will receive additional Adoption Assistance benefits.
Through this innovative program these children and their families will get the supports they need to be successful.