As you walk through the recently constructed 15,000 square foot facility built for the Child & Family Services (C&FS), Capital Area bustling with social workers therapists and administrative staff. The new space includes six counseling rooms, four parenting rooms, three group rooms, a play therapy room and a community room.
Although they are advocates of adoption and foster care, C&FS’ goal is to assist individuals and families by building, strengthening and repairing their personal and family lives.
Efforts are focused on services both to birth mothers, adoption, and the recruitment and supervision of foster homes for neglected children. Their approach includes services directed at keeping families intact and believe that the strength in the community lies in the happiness, and self-sufficiency of its families.
Services are designed toward giving a safe home to children by providing temporary foster care
and helping to reunited families where children have been removed. They provide counseling services and substance abuse treatment and prevention.
In April 1990, there were 80 children in Michigan waiting to be adopted.
At that time African-American males represented the majority according to a statewide network that locates families for adoptable children. In October of 2001, there were 436 children ( with African-American males representing over half) waiting for adoption, which is a 500% increase from 1990.
The Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) a booklet containing biographical information on adopted children states that in order for a child to be placed in the book, he or she must have been waiting for an adoptive placement for more than 6 months.
There are still hundreds of other children in the state of Michigan who haven’t yet reached the 6 month mark and that is where working with an agency can be beneficial. Minority children, older children and special needs children, which also include the placement of siblings, have a more difficult time being adopted.
When asked if there are diligent efforts to recruit foster and adoptive parents that reflect the diversity of the children needing placement, Mary Reed, Director of Fundraising, at C&FS said, “We place children in an appropriate home.”
Michelle Hibbert who is African-American and an adoption specialist at C&FS, held a seminar on May 1,2002 for parents who have adopted transracially through their agency. The seminar covered hair and skin care for African-American and biracial children.
Dr. Marcy Street, an African-American dermatologist who has a line of hair care products spoke at the seminar. Dr. Street is a board certified dermatologist who received her training from the University of Illinois Medical School and Mayo Clinic. She lectures on the subject of hair loss and has appeared on television and radio programs as in expert on skin cancer prevention and on anti-aging topics. Her medical practice and cosmetic treatment center are located in East Lansing, MI. She also writes a column for Black Hair magazine. Shanora’s Beauty Supply store was also on hand to display hair care products and other products for people of color.
For further information on the adoption process or if you’re interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent, call C&FS at 517-882-4000 or 1-800-301-7566.
Printed in Volume 1 Issue 10