B.C. on target to find adoption families for 300 kids and youth, rep says

VICTORIA — A fierce critic of British Columbia's Children and Family Development Ministry was singing its praises Tuesday over the campaign to find families to adopt 300 children.

Independent Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond said the ministry's adoption campaign is on target to reach its goal of finding permanent families this year for 300 children and teens who need homes.

She said in an update report that 153 children and youth who were in government care during the first seven months of the 2014-2015 fiscal year have been adopted.

At a joint news conference last June, Turpel-Lafond and Children's Minister Stephanie Cadieux pledged to launch a public effort to increase adoptions in B.C. On any given day in the province, more than 1,000 children in government care are waiting to be adopted.

Cadieux and Turpel-Lafond, who are often at odds over child-protection issues, agreed that the number of children waiting to be adopted is too high.

The minister was present Tuesday when Turpel-Lafond tabled her updated report.

Earlier this month, Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon attended an adoption awareness event at the legislature, where she related her experiences as a mother of four adopted children.

Guichon said the four children helped her through a tragedy in her life that occurred when her husband died in a motorcycle crash 11 years ago.

She said families will never regret adoption.

The government recently introduced a social media campaign to encourage people to become adoptive parents.

"Sometimes we get lost in the very big numbers and don't realize how every single child's case matters, and of the adoptions that have been successful this year, the 153 we are reporting today that is very good progress," Turpel-Lafond said. "I look forward to in the spring, updating again, and seeing greater progress on the issue."

Cadieux said finding families willing to adopt children in care is one of her ministry's top priorities.

"We need to continue to raise awareness and find loving, caring, secure, adoptive homes for the kids who are currently in government care," she said.

Turpel-Lafond said her report last June found that 56 children in government care have been waiting six years to be adopted.

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