Focusing on Forever Families

Join us in celebrating National Adoption Month this November and raising awareness about the urgent need for adoptive families for children in foster care. Take a few minutes to view and then share the great public service announcement posted below or learn more about AdoptUSKids or the NYS Adoption Photolistings.

The Center is proud to partner with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) in support of its Adoption Practice Improvement Training. The goals of this training collaboration are to build knowledge and skills across the child welfare system, to identify and reduce the barriers to speedy adoptions, and to support stable adoptive homes.

With funding from OCFS, the Center employs nine field staff in its Adoption Option program, including six adoption specialists and an adoption legal specialist. Staff are placed in locations throughout New York in close proximity to OCFS regional offices.

Ernest Anderson is an adoption specialist at the Center’s New York City office. A former adoption director for two private foster care agencies in New York City who has done hundreds of placements and adoptions, Ernest chose to come to the Center as an adoption specialist because of “a commitment to want to improve outcomes for families and children and provide support and training for the agencies that serve these families.”

Ernest Anderson
Ernest Anderson, Adoption Specialist

When asked to tell a little about his work as an adoption specialist, Mr. Anderson says: “We provide training on regulations and best practices in adoption for agencies and local district staffs. We also intercede with OCFS, when requested by agencies or local districts, to expedite documents generated by the state (e.g., subsidy, child abuse clearances) to facilitate timely adoptions. We do program reviews to assess agency practice and compliance with regulations. We also handle requests for information on adoption and complaints against agency/LDSS staff or policies. We support recruitment, awareness, and events such as Heart Galleries, adoption fairs, and conferences with our attendance or by providing training or through helping to secure OCFS funding. We also hear from families in the adoption process or who have completed adoptions with concerns about their individual cases. We hear from adoptees who have issues with their adoptive homes and from adult adoptees wanting identifying information on the birth parents and siblings (which is not allowed except through the DOH Adoption Registry). Occasionally, we conduct adoption panel reviews where a population of children in foster care placed with an agency/LDSS is discussed, sometimes at length, regarding progress or concerns on their adoption plans. We monitor private adoption agencies as well.”

Mr. Anderson reports that he tries to participate in Adoption Month events “to see families and children enjoy their adoption hearings and to remind myself of the commitment. It can be energizing.”

Barbara Jaklitsch, senior project coordinator at the Center and supervisor of the adoption specialists, states: “For me, National Adoption Month is also a time to honor and recognize the amazing work done by our adoption specialists every day, who support and facilitate the long and often hard work that goes into finalizing adoptions.”

The staff at the Center join Ms. Jaklitsch in honoring the diligent work of our adoption specialists and all adoption workers who work relentlessly to find children forever families.

Learn more about our child welfare training and special projects.