We Never Outgrow the Need for Family

By: Cynthia Weiskittel, Director, Division of Children and Family Services

photo of a brother and sister in front of a tree
 
photo of a young man smiling leaning against a gate

photo of a young man smiling standing in front of a silver background
Fall is my favorite time of year. The changing leaves and seasonal foods signal the start of the holiday season. Despite the hectic pace, I look forward to spending the holidays with my family. Unfortunately, many children in the permanent custody of the Division of Children and Family Services do not have a forever family to enjoy the holidays with.

Perhaps that is why November is National Adoption Month. It’s the time of year that reminds us just how important family is for all of us. At DCFS we like to say ‘We Never Outgrow the Need for Family.’ From the attachment needs of a newborn to the wisdom and guidance needed by teens and young adults, there is never a time in our lives when we don’t need the love and support of a parent, sibling, grandparent, or other extended family. It’s the foundation upon which we build life-long connections, skills, and confidence to become resilient and thriving adults.

In Cuyahoga County we have approximately 508 children in the permanent custody of DCFS. Of those, 449 children and teens are awaiting adoption. They range in age and backgrounds. They are students, athletes, artists, and leaders. They are brothers, sisters, friends, and classmates. They are right in your neighborhood and they need you. Teens who age out of foster care are less likely to attend college, more likely to become homeless, unemployed, or go to jail.

For our part, we’re training more of our staff to help with adoption work. We’re increasing efforts to find extended family for children, and engaging national partners like Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, AdoptUSKids, and Casey Family Programs to help us achieve permanency for these children faster.

We also need your help. As you set the table for your family this holiday, think about whether you have room for more. More family to embrace, love, teach, and guide to adulthood. Think about what you can gain by opening your heart and home to a child or siblings that have the strength to overcome a painful past yet remain hopeful for a brighter future.

While some children wish for their favorite dish at the holiday table, these children need family around it. Every Thanksgiving, birthday, winter break, or school conference without a forever family is one too many. From the cradle to college, We Never Outgrow the Need for Family.

For more information on adoption contact the Division of Children and Family Services Recruitment Department at 216-881-5775.
logo with red child bubble figures with the words Wendy's Wonderful Kids to the right   logo with graphic of a child in green and blue with the words Adopt Us Kids to the right   logo of a gray and red paint swipe with the words casey family programs to the right