October 5th, 2002
Actress Victoria Rowell Joins ACS Commissioner William C. Bell For The City's Largest Adoption Event
-Celebration Marks 25th Anniversary of NYC Adopt: Finding Families for Children
Administration for Children's Services (ACS) Commissioner William C. Bell today kicked off the City's 25th annual, NYC Adopt: Finding Families for Children, held in Central Park's East Meadow. Commissioner Bell was joined by Deputy Mayor for Policy Dennis M. Walcott and Victoria Rowell, actress from "The Young and the Restless," "Diagnosis Murder" starring Dick Van Dyke and founder of the Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan.
"In the past six years, ACS has completed a record-breaking 24,000 adoptions," said Commissioner Bell. "And in this calendar year so far, ACS has completed adoptions for approximately 1,500 children. Through NYC Adopt and our other efforts to recruit adoptive parents, we are able to reach out to prospective parents to encourage them to open their heart to a child. At this event, New Yorkers are presented with the great opportunity to find out more about how they can positively change the life of a child. I encourage everyone to speak with our adoption professionals, learn about how adoption can improve a child's chances of success in life and then pass that information along to someone else who might be considering adoption."
NYC Adopt 2002 is a large-scale celebration of adoption where prospective parents and adoption professionals from more than 45 adoption agencies meet and exchange information about the joys and challenges of adopting a child through the City of New York. Mr. G., WB11 News at 10 Weatherman, and Janice Huff, NBC Meteorologist and host of Wednesday's Child, co-emceed the ceremony. Special guest speakers included Ms. Rowell and Gloria Ortega, a young adult who shared her experience with being adopted through ACS. The day was generously made possible through the support of Wendy's Restaurants in the New York Tri-State Area and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
"As an adoptive parent of two children and a foster parent, I can tell you how much it means to a child to have a permanent family," said Deputy Mayor Walcott. "It is equally rewarding for parents who open up their home to these loving children and help them reach their full potential. Of the 27,500 children currently in the care of ACS, thousands will need an adoptive home. Fortunately, many of them are currently living with pre-adoptive families. However, there are 800 children who still need a permanent, stable home. NYC Adopt is designed to educate anyone who is considering adopting a child about how meaningful an experience adoption can be."
NYC Adopt 2002 was dedicated to the memory of Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. As an adoptee, Thomas' lifelong mission to help the more than 150,000 children who are waiting to be adopted in child welfare systems across America to find permanent, loving homes included offering great support to the City's adoption campaign over the past decade.
"As someone who grew up in foster care for 18 years, I know how important it is for children to have the love and support they need to become confident, well-rounded young adults," said Ms. Rowell. "My experience epitomizes how great foster care can be. But my experience also epitomizes how hard it is for a foster child to be subjected to multiple homes and families - every new home seems foreign, and every pillow has a different scent. I am proud to be here today to join the City of New York in raising awareness about the adoption process and helping to find homes for these amazing young people."
During the afternoon, hundreds of prospective parents visited information booths staffed by over 45 adoption recruitment agencies and attended orientation sessions and educational workshops including titles like "Adoption from A to Z." Some of the more specialized workshops covered topics including adopting pre-teens and teens, adopting children with special needs and post-adoption services. In addition, family entertainment took place throughout the day, including musical performances by the Girls' Choir of Harlem, face painting, petting zoo, air castles and more.
Other ACS adoption initiatives include:
- NYC Family Album. This color photo album of NYC's waiting children provides prospective parents with an introduction to the foster children in ACS's care who are waiting to be adopted.
- Meet Our Kids. Launched earlier this year, this is an interactive version of the NYC Family Album that also walks visitors through the adoption process. Access the database at www.nyc.gov/adopt.
- Wednesday's Child. Each Wednesday, the program features a NYC foster child or sibling group who is waiting for a permanent family. Hosted by NBC4 Meteorologist Janice Huff, the program is generously funded by the Freddie Mac Foundation and is a partnership between Freddie Mac, ACS and NBC4. The segment airs on Wednesdays at 5:45 p.m.
- The Daily News' "A Child Is Waiting" feature. Each month, the Daily News devotes an entire page to children from the NYC Family Album who are in need of a permanent family. This newest addition to ACS's adoption campaign began in April 2001 and has generated hundreds of calls from New Yorkers interested in foster and adoptive parenting.
ACS acknowledges the following event sponsors: Wendy's Restaurants in the Tri-state area, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the Freddie Mac Foundation, WB11 Care for Kids Campaign, El Diario, WKTU-FM, WWOR-AM, WWRL-FM, NBC Newschannel 4 and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. In addition, the following organizations made donations to this year's event: Arizona Beverage, The Bachmann Company, Drakes Bakeries/Hostess Cakes, Edy's, Entenmann's Bakery, Mars, Inc., Nantucket Nectars, Tropicana, UTZ Quality Foods, Wise Foods, Inc. and Yorkshire Foods.
For more information about adopting or fostering a NYC child, please call the ACS Parent Recruitment Hotline at (212) 676-WISH (9474). Outside of New York State, call toll-free at (877) 676-WISH (9474). Or log onto the ACS website at www.nyc.gov/adopt.