The first child WACAP placed with an adoptive family, back in 1976, was a young girl from the US foster care system. Ever since then, as our work has expanded around the world, WACAP has maintained a special commitment to finding families for children from foster care.
At any given time, there are about 1,500 children in Washington State alone, who need a forever family. The youngest and healthiest of these children are often adopted right away. Many children, however, face barriers to being adopted because they’re older, have special medical needs or behavioral disabilities. With every year a child spends in foster care, these barriers only get higher. For too many children, they become insurmountable, and at age 18, they’re on their own.
While many organizations do great work to provide support for children who have “aged out” of the foster care system, the future these kids face can be pretty bleak. Statistics show that by their 19th birthday, 40 percent of girls who have aged out will have an out of wedlock pregnancy. 20 percent of foster care alums will have been arrested, and 12 percent will be homeless.
WACAP’s work lies in finding the families who have the resources and dedication to bring to these children into their families. We know they’re out there, and we’re determined to find them. That’s where our award winning A Family for Me program comes in.
A Family for Me is the only program of its kind in Washington state. Each week, the program features a local foster child waiting to be adopted. The child is treated to a “Dream Date” — an afternoon spent doing the child’s favorite or “dream” activity, such as an afternoon horseback riding, bowling, or a trip to a salon. Professional videographers record the children as they enjoy their activities, share about their interests, and talk about the type of family they would like to have.
The staff at KING 5 edit the footage, and Joyce Taylor, the anchor hosting A Family for Me, presents the child every Thursday on KING 5 Morning News, on KONG and KING 5 News at Noon, as well as at other times during the weekend. The videos are also featured on the King5 website. Yuen Lui Studio takes a professional portrait of each child, also posted on WACAP’s website. These are often the first and only professional photos the child has even had taken. These photos and videos can then be shared with partner organizations, state social workers, and potential adoptive families, increasing each child’s chances of finding their forever family.
Since August 2005, A Family for Me has reached 233 children in need of families. Nationwide, only about half of all foster children waiting for adoption find permanent families in any given year. To date, 73 percent of the children who have been a part of A Family for Me have joined adoptive families.
We’re so proud to be a part of this important work, and so appreciative of King 5 and Yuen Lui for helping us work toward our vision of A Family for Every Child.