I didn’t know the exact history of National Adoption Month and so I looked it up. There’s a nice overview here , but to sum it up, National Adoption Month was originally a week. It was started in 1976 by Governor Michael Dukakis in Massachusetts and the idea was pretty much the same: To bring awareness to our children and youth needing families. Ronald Reagan went on to proclaim the first National Adoption Week in 1984, and Clinton made it into a month in 1995.
In my opinion, setting time aside for issues and focusing on them really helps. At CASA, we have three important months, National Adoption Month (November), Child Abuse Prevention Month (April) and National Foster Care Month (May). As some of you might know, that’s why our Light of Hope Event is in April.
This coming April there will be a lot of attention focused on Child Abuse Prevention Month. A statewide campaign is being planned by the Colorado Department of Human Services to promote a statewide 1-800 number for reporting child abuse. The idea of a centralized hotline came about because there were some challenges with families moving between the different counties, which all had their own hotline number. The campaign for the 1-800 number will probably start in January and ramp up to April, ending with a rally at the Capitol. I’m glad we have this month to concentrate our efforts.
A final note about National Adoption Month is that our child welfare system was meant to be a temporary setting for our kids. The system was never intended to raise kids and prepare them for the future (although it does due to necessity). This is why we use the word “permanency” to reflect our greatest outcome for all the children and youth we serve. Whether it’s returning home to their family or being adopted by caring and loving adults, the true message of National Adoption Month is that all kids deserve a permanent, forever home.
Thanks again to all the CASA volunteers who help make this happen every day! As you all know, CASA volunteers play an important role in permanency. Not only do they help with the actual process as it moves through the system, but many CASA volunteers help by being that one consistent adult during a time of great transition. While our efforts can never replace a family, we can offer hope. We can help ensure that our kids have at least one person there for them.