INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Right now, FosterAdopt Connect, which helps children find forever homes, is stuck in limbo. Its Adoption Incentive Funds have been put on hold.
“This is a funding source that is used to help states provide services, provide dollars for programs that impact kids finding permanent families,” Youth Programs Director Nathan Ross said.
At FosterAdopt Connect, those programs include the Extreme Recruitment program, 30 Days to Family program and the Community Connections Youth Project.
“Those really help find kids permanent families so we work with those families — we go and recruit with a child's natural support and we also go and find adoptive or foster families if we can't find those natural supports. We help get those kids connected,” Ross said.
To make that happen, Adoption Incentive Funds are crucial.
FosterAdopt Connect leaders said since 2016, the federal government has gotten behind in paying money to states. The organization stated it hasn’t been paid what’s been allotted to them.
“We're needing that $50 million that we should've had dispersed already... we need that in order to continue to do the great work,” Ross said. “But additionally, it's going to come back for renewal, so we need additional $38 million to provide that support for families in the next fiscal year.”
Ross said he knows the personal connection of how this funding can impact a child in the foster care system.
“I came into foster care when I was 10, after a lot of abuse and neglect ended up leading to the death of two of my brothers, so we had some significant amount of system failures,” Ross said.
Ross was later adopted.
“I know how important services are because without those services, without those dollars... my parents wouldn't have been able to be linked to me,” he said.
If the funding doesn’t come soon, they won’t be able to serve the kids they need to.
“They're more likely to not have homes, which means, they're more likely to be homeless, they're more likely to be incarcerated, they're more likely to honestly die early, because they don't have the support they need,” Ross said.
That’s why they’re urging people to call their Missouri Senators.
“It’s not a partisan issue, everyone can get behind the fact that children deserve a forever family,” Ross said. “If you know nothing else, you should know kids deserve to grow up in a loving and deserving home.”