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BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Children and Families Services (DCFS) will host events across the state during November to celebrate adoptive families and honor the 506 families who adopted 733 children from Louisiana's foster care system in the past year.
November is Adoption Awareness Month in Louisiana and across the country.
"More than 500 families made a tremendous commitment by giving our foster children permanent, loving homes," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "During the month of November we will honor families who make a difference in a child's life through adoption."
Regions are partnering with community organizations and local officials to raise awareness of the need for adoptive and foster parents. At some events, adults interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent can meet families who have adopted or who have been foster parents. DCFS' Child Welfare staff will also be available to answer any questions about the certification process.
Currently, there are more than 2,000 certified foster homes serving 3,959 foster children. As of November 1, 518 of these children are legally freed for adoption and 343 of those children are still seeking adoptive families.
"You can never have too many foster and adoptive parents," said Sonnier. "These events give the public an opportunity to celebrate families and promote adoption with us and encourage community members to become a foster or adoptive parent."
Adoption Awareness Month Celebrations:
3rd Annual Rescue Cenla's Child Benefit Motorcycle Ride and Adoption Festival (open to public) - Saturday, November 16, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Ride begins at 2030 North Mall Dr. and ends at 1701 Expressway Drive, Pineville. The event will have family friendly activities including face painting, jumpers, live music, door prizes and a silent auction.
No scheduled events.
5k Race (open to public) - Saturday, November 30. The Covington Region DCFS is partnering with Royal Kids Camps for 5K race at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Royal Kids Camps provide summer overnight camps for foster children.
Annual Adoption Celebration and Awareness (open to public) - Saturday, November 16, Noon to 3 p.m. at Heyman Park in Lafayette. In conjunction with DCFS, Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church and the Junior League of Lafayette will have a booth for interested families to sign-up for additional information.
Family Fun Day (open to public) - Sunday, November 17, Noon to 6 p.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 818 12th Street, Lafayette. The event will have information, activities for children, and performances by the Northside High School Band, Northside High School Steppers, and by Chris Ardoin and his Zydeco Band.
Adoption Celebration (open to public) - Wednesday, November 13, 2 p.m., Monroe City Hall. DCFS, in partnership with CASA and the City of Monroe, will host an event with guest speakers, a Heart Gallery, entertainment and a balloon release. The region's Adoptive Family of the Year will also be recognized at the event.
Adoption Kickoff Balloon Release (open to public) - Monday, November 18, Gretna #2 Academy. In partnership with CASA Jefferson, Volunteers of America and Crossroads NOLA, a balloon release will be held in celebration of adoption. Information on adoptable foster children
Winn Dixie "Re-Birthday Cake" Taste (open to public) - Wednesday, November 20, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at three Winn-Dixie locations: Marrerro, Kenner and New Orleans. This event will celebrate the dates that foster children were adopted. An adoption information table will also be at the event.
Oakwood Mall Adoption Awareness Event (open to public) - Thursday, November 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oakwood Mall, Gretna. In partnership with CASA Jefferson, Volunteers of America and Crossroads NOLA, DCFS will have an informational table available for those interested in learning more about fostering and adopting.
Adoption Awareness Ceremony (open to public) - Tuesday, November 19, 4 p.m. at New Wine Christian Fellowship, 1925 West Airline Hwy, LaPlace. The public is invited to learn more about adopting children from the foster care system. There will be free food, music, family fun and information about adopting from foster care.
National Adoption Month Celebration (closed to public) - Wednesday, November 13, 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 8586 Youree Drive, Shreveport. DCFS, in partnership with Wendy's, will provide food from a select menu for invited guests. There will also be activities for children and information available for those interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent.
15th Annual Adoption Reception (closed to public) - Thursday, November 21, Louisiana Governor's Mansion. Louisiana families and their newly adopted children will be the guests of honor at the event which will feature children's entertainment, face painting and balloon animals.
Alexandria's Heart Gallery Expo (open to public) - Sunday, November 3, Word of Grace Church located at 2825 Monroe Hwy., Pineville. Professional photographs of Louisiana children available for adoption were displayed in the church foyer.
Covington's Adoption Ceremony (closed to public) - Wednesday, November 6. DCFS, in partnership with the Greater Covington Bar Association and the judges of the 22nd JDC, marked the month with a small reception for the families, attorneys, child welfare employees, CASA and court personnel following the 11 adoptions scheduled that morning.
Lake Charles' International Fun Day (open to public) - Saturday, November 2, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Loc Park in Sulphur. DCFS had a booth at this community event with face painters and information regarding becoming a foster or adoptive parent to interested families.
DCFS participates in year-round recruiting efforts for adoptive and foster parents by holding orientation meetings each month across the state. For additional information on the schedule of orientations, as well as qualifications, the certification process to care for a foster child or children and life as a foster or adoptive family, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/foster or www.dcfs.la.gov/adopt.