The reception will feature speakers that explain the process of becoming a foster or adoptive parent. It will also have testimonials from foster families. Private and International adoption agencies will also be present.
According to Maryann McInnis, a child welfare specialist, working out of the state's Shreveport Office, there are around 500 children in northwest Louisiana that are in the foster care system and 10 that have been freed for adoption and are waiting for a family to adopt them .
McInnis said the greatest need is for people to adopt children older than 10 years old.
"We have a critical need for people who are interested in fostering and or adopting teenagers," said McInnis.
If these children age out of foster care without being adopted or returning to their birth families, she said the outcome isn't good.
"Statistically, they stand a high risk of being in jail, or homeless, or even dying within a short time. "
To become a foster or adoptive parent, you must be
between the age of 21 and 64 at the time of certification, have a stable
income, a place to live, transportation, undergo a background check, not have a
history of neglect or abuse, and have a love for children.
The state does not charge an adoption fee. Usually, families are asked to foster children, and then if those foster children are unable to return to their biological families, the foster family is the first in line to adopt them.