Identified gap in services
Our region was failing its children and families as poverty and the crack cocaine had become endemic and the child welfare system was overwhelmed with need. Exposed infants were spending months and years in the hospital. Children removed from birth family due to abuse or neglect were growing up in public foster care and aging out to homelessness at 18. Healthy majority race infants were welcomed with resources to begin life with the stability their birth parents seek. Closed adoption was the prevailing community practice, yet research and practice told us that openness is better for children. Opportunities to adopt children were limited based on religion, race, sexual orientation, age and marital status of prospective parents. Adoptees and their families sought mental health services and needs were not understood or being met.