Today, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the appointment of Deborah J. Johnston as Virginia’s newest Adoption Champion. An adoptee herself, Ms. Johnston is the owner of a Midlothian-based home health care agency. She is passionate about helping children find permanent families, and in her new role, will work to support the Commonwealth’s permanency efforts statewide.
“Promotion and recruitment efforts are critical to ensuring Virginia’s children are placed in loving and caring homes,” said Gov. McAuliffe. “Ms. Johnston will work with prospective adoptive families, recruitment agencies, local departments of social services, public officials and adoptive families in order to promote this mission.”
Last year’s VAdopts: Campaign for 1,000, successfully resulted in 1,041 adoption matches and 695 finalized adoptions. Since then, the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) has worked diligently with local and state social services staff to keep the momentum going. “Supporting the continued goal of achieving permanency through adoption, with a specific focus on the longest waiting youth, older teens and youth with special needs, remains a top priority,” said Margaret Ross Schultze, VDSS Commissioner. “Ms. Johnston has a powerful story, and I am very excited to welcome her as Virginia’s Adoption Champion.” There are currently 828 foster children available for adoption in Virginia.
Ms. Johnston will serve as spokesperson for adoption in Virginia, and will work to engage and educate the public in support of Virginia’s adoption program goals and objectives. “I look forward to drawing from my personal experience to support and promote adoption throughout the Commonwealth,” said Johnston. “This initiative is extremely close to my heart, and I am honored by this appointment.”