The “Virginia Adopts: Campaign for 1,000” effort has met its goal. Gov. Bob McDonnell announced last week that in calendar year 2013, 1,008 children from Virginia’s foster care system have been adopted or matched with a family who is going through the process of adopting. The announcement is a part of the focus McDonnell has placed on foster care and adoption since the launch of the “Virginia Adopts: Campaign for 1,000” in May of this year.
“In May, we set out to achieve a clear goal: to match 1,000 children in foster care with permanent, loving families this year. Today, I am pleased to announce we have met, and actually now surpassed, this goal,” McDonnell said. “I commend Secretary Hazel, Secretary Kelly, and the many state and local Department of Social Service employees and private adoption agencies who champion this cause day in and day out and who have worked tirelessly to reach this goal. Even though this is a tremendous milestone, there is still a great deal to be accomplished. I look forward to the continued focus on adoption throughout the McAuliffe administration. Every child deserves a family and a place to call home. Virginians have big hearts and big dreams and together, this year, we have changed lives forever.”
“Growing up in a loving family is one of the most important factors in a child’s life. It contributes to a strong sense of identity and builds a foundation for success. Reaching the goal of matching 1,000 waiting children with permanent families is an extraordinary feat. I look forward to building on the successes of the McDonnell administration and continuing this effort until there are no more foster children waiting to be adopted in Virginia,” stated Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe.
Former First Lady Anne Holton added, “I am delighted to see the Campaign for 1,000 reach its goal. Tim and I believe deeply in this cause and it’s gratifying to see the next two gubernatorial Administrations take on and expand the effort. This is an excellent step in the right direction, and I know that Governor-elect McAuliffe will expand on this success.”
The “Virginia Adopts: Campaign for 1,000” launched in May from the steps of the Governor’s Mansion. Former first lady Anne Holton joined Governor McDonnell at the launch. In late July, the Campaign held informational rallies in nine localities across Virginia. More than 900 participants attended these events where potential adoptive parents learned more about children waiting for adoption and the adoption process. The Campaign also featured two innovative social media campaigns: “100 Kids, 100 Days” and “#IHeartAdoption.” The first campaign shared the story of 100 children in the foster care system waiting for a family, over the period of 100 days. #IHeartAdoption encourages adoption supporters to share photos describing why they support adoption on Facebook and Twitter.
McDonnell announced last week his biennial budget will include $27.7 million in new funding for four initiatives targeted at improving foster care and adoption. In 2013, Governor McDonnell secured in the state budget $1.5 million in new funding dedicated to extreme recruitment, general recruitment, and post adoptive services.
Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Bill Hazel stated, “Now that we have met the goal of matching 1,000 children, our focus will shift to those that have become available for adoption in recent months, since about 40 new children become available for adoption each month in Virginia. Our goal is to surpass the number of children waiting with a pool of parents who want to adopt out of the foster care system.”
Secretary Kelly said, “This goal means that for 1,008 children, they will celebrate the last Christmas without a permanent family or the first Christmas with their new, permanent families. This is a phenomenal achievement, but we need to keep this momentum up for three to five years in order to truly change the culture of foster care adoptions in Commonwealth.”