Baton Rouge - More foster children have found permanent homes over the past year than in any year thus far.
Today, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) marked National Adoption Month with a celebration honoring 532 families who adopted 735 Louisiana foster children between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016 - the most in one year to date.
Of this record-breaking adoption number, 109 families adopted two children, 19 families adopted three children, and nine families adopted four children.
"This month is a time to celebrate those who expanded their family by one, two or even four children through adoption," said DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters. "More than 700 foster children have found a permanent, loving home and I couldn't be more thankful to these families."
"Today is truly a day of celebration as we recognize the record number of adoptions that have taken place within the last year," said First Lady Donna Edwards, who attended the event. "It is proof that there is an adoptive family for all children - from infants to teens to children with special needs. It is life changing when a child finds a loving family who will provide a safe and nurturing environment for them to grow and thrive. I want to thank all of the adoptive families for having a heart for children and encourage others to learn more about how they too can make a difference in the lives of our children."
At the reception, the department presented several awards honoring partners as an Individual Adoption Advocate, a Community Advocate, and a Media Advocate.
"Much of what we do, day in and day out, would not be possible without our partners around the state," said Walters. "This event is an opportunity to honor the families who have adopted and recognize those who work on behalf of our children."
The Individual Advocate Award was presented to Alexandria attorney Marion French, for his work to complete 464 adoptions in the Alexandria region since 2004.
Foster Friends of Lafayette received the Community Advocate Award for the many supportive events and partnership activities the organization has provided foster children in the Lafayette area.
The Media Advocate Award was presented to WVLA Local33 in Baton Rouge for the station's Wednesday's Child segment, which highlights adoptable foster children in Baton Rouge and the surrounding region.
Balloon artists, face painters, children's activities and the Leroy Pero Ensemble entertained families who attended this year's event.
On any given day, DCFS staff is seeking adoptive homes for about 200 children throughout Louisiana.
The department participates in year-round recruiting efforts for foster and adoptive parents by holding orientation meetings each month across the state. For additional information about adopting a foster child, please visit www.dcfs.la.gov/adopt.