Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth
Adoption represents a lifelong commitment for both adoptive parents and the adoptee. But adoption doesn't always mean a happy ending. Nationally, 14% of adoptions end up being disrupted and the children are placed back into the child welfare system. Four years ago in Mississippi, the state was facing an adoption disruption rate of 30%.
On the bright side, a new statewide post-adoption services program created through a partnership between the Mississippi Department of Human Services and Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth Inc. has tackled the problem and lowered the disruption rate to 7%.
Since Hurricane Katrina made landfall, the success of these efforts have been compromised. Southern Christian Services, a nonprofit organization, lost equipment and was unable to operate out of its Gulfport office-the organization's main office is in Jackson.
"Katrina affected our ability to deliver post-adoption services to families affected by Katrina," a grant application from Southern Christian Services explains. "No other agency is delivering these services. As families move into long-term recovery following Katrina, they are experiencing very stressful situations that will undoubtedly impact their parenting capabilities. Families who are at this time still living in tents, trailers, motels, and damaged dwellings are in dire circumstances. Adoptive families with special needs children are at risk of disruptions and family conflict."
To help Southern Christian Services' to better reach families in need, a $74,855 grant from CWLA's Katrina Kids is helping launch the organization's Partners in Permanency post-adoption services program. The bulk of the funding is paying the salaries and benefits of four permanency specialists working in Gulfport, Indianola, Jackson, and Tupelo. The rest of the money is offsetting the program's rent and utility expenses.
Adoptive and foster-adoptive families of children with special needs are receiving a comprehensive array of permanency services through the Partners in Permanency Program, including on-call crisis case management; daily and weekly respite in homes of trained respite families; a toll-free phone number for foster and adoptive parents to call if they need help; training classes; support groups; newsletters; a website; and an extensive lending library of resource information on children's behaviors.
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