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About Adoption Rhode Island

Impact

Adoption Rhode Island has a significant impact on the adoption and foster care communities in Rhode Island and across the country.

ARI serves 2000+ individuals each year including more than 350 children each month in a continuum of direct services. Furthering our impact, we have reached 800+ child-serving professionals through training and workforce development programs. We are curious, innovative and persistent in our desire to deliver effective and efficient outcomes. We provide a range of services and supports to children, youth, families and our community.

We are both excited and proud to share some of the impact we were able to make in 2020, a year filled with challenges and remarkable strength.

Finding Families for Children

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Utilizing a variety of family search and engagement strategies, our direct service staff conducted close to 500 specialized family finding searches, including in-depth child welfare case reviews, to find and engage new and/or lost relationships for our children and youth. We welcomed 150 families into the process of fostering and adopting. In spite of all of the additional challenges of the pandemic, the efforts of our Adoption & Permanency Services team resulted in more than 50% of our children being matched, placed, or adopted with a family! In fact, we also launched a new program. In the first 6 months of this national pilot project, our Private Investigator and Recruiter more than Tripled the number of connections identified for youth and expanded the size of participants’ family trees to be 8 times the size of when referred to the program

Supporting Children in Foster Care

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Whether you are a child, teen, or adult, preparing for adoption is no small feat, which is why our Adoption and Permanency professionals facilitated more than 250 preparation activities. Some of the tools used include creating eco-maps and genograms, discussions about matching and adoption readiness, creating youth and family profiles, and clarifying conversations to help youth and their supporting families understand their journey to permanency. Because authentic engagement is critical and relationships matter, our Adoption & Permanency and Teen Focus professionals made more than 1,400 virtual or in-person face-to-face contacts and facilitated more than 2,500 youth-specific team meetings and case consultations to provide the knowledge needed to facilitate permanency and promote safety and well-being for youth served.

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Adoption Rhode Island was proudly recognized by Human Rights Campaign Foundation for LGBTQ+ Inclusion Efforts. All Children – All Families (ACAFP)

Empowering Youth Success

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Ensuring that young people in foster care launch into adulthood ahead of the odds with a high-school diploma in hand makes supporting school success a part of our work with children and youth. Over the past year, across all of our programs, more than 70 children and teens, and adoptive families, received individualized supportive services to meet academic goals, secure needed special education services, and meet requirements to graduate from high-school with a plan for what comes next. In spring 2020, 100% of the youth in our Teen Focus program who were seniors in high-school met graduation requirements and earned their diploma and program support over the past year has helped 12 young people to pursue college.

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Thanks to the outpouring of community support, we were able to provide nearly $30,000 of direct benefits, including funds and gift cards, to youth and families to promote enrichment and educational activities, provide basic needs and COVID-related relief, and offer holiday gifts to create a sense of safety, wellness, and normalcy in year of unprecedented challenges.

Raising Awareness and Advocating for Children and Families

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To raise awareness of foster care adoption and our commitment to preventing youth from aging out of foster care without family support Adoption RI reached almost 10,000 social media connections, was featured in over 200 print, television and radio segments, displayed a minimum of 6 billboards and averaged website interaction of over 20,000 per quarter. We organized numerous legislative convenings, participated in several statewide committees, advocated for executive orders for foster youth and participated in developing child welfare policy recommendations for Congress and the new administration.

Helping Children and Families Heal

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Every family has their ups and downs, especially when helping children heal from trauma. Through provision of our adoptive family stabilization and preservation program, we provided more than 500 clinical sessions and well over 300 supportive case management calls, resulting in 100% of post-adopt families remaining together.

Delivering High Quality Services

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To keep our employees on the cutting-edge of child welfare, youth engagement, and mental health research and best practices, our team attended more than 70 trainings and workshops this year. Several employees completed post-graduate certificates and others were accepted into prestigious leadership programs.

Capacity Building and Workforce Support

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We facilitated more than 30 trainings and workshops, reaching over 800 individuals, further advancing the knowledge and skill set of clinicians, teachers, providers across RI and beyond.

The Impact of our Adoption and Permanency Services:

Between 2015 and 2017, our Adoption and Permanency Coordinators served 181 youth.

  • Fifty-one percent (51%) of the youth achieved permanency within that same timeframe.
  • Thirty percent (30%) were matched and placed with an adoptive family.
  • The average time from registration with ARI to placement was 16 months Between 2015 and 2017, our Adoption and Permanency Coordinators closed 117 cases.
  • Of those 117 cases, 92 closed because they had successfully achieved permanency through adoption, guardianship or reunification.

In 2017 we looked at the impact of utilizing family search and engagement strategies to increase permanency outcomes for children not served by WWK program. We reached out to 155 individuals for 44 youth.

  • As a result, 8 youth achieved placements with family or kin.
  • Additionally, we identified 40 new family connections, which include visits, phone calls, and/or letters.

Impact of our Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Program

Adoption Rhode Island’s, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program is serving youth who are more challenging to place than the national average. Youth are older, have had more placements, are more likely to have at least 1 special need, are more likely to be minorities or in a sibling group, and are far more likely to have experienced previous adoption disruption.

Despite serving a population that faces several barriers to permanency, Adoption RI has met or exceeded national outcomes for the past 13 years.

WWK Snapshot 2017: 57 children were served; 14 matches were made; 11 children placed in pre-adoptive homes; 7 children adopted or had legal guardianship.

Of youth with legal finalizations, it took on average, 13 months to be matched; 15 months to be placed in pre-adoptive homes; 20 months to achieve legal finalization.

Impact of our Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Program

In an effort to assist with timeliness to permanency and resource provision, Adoption RI entered into an agreement with DCYF to receive registrations for youth with an identified pre-adoptive family (usually their foster placement) who would not require recruitment, but could still benefit from Adoption RI’s other services.

Between 2015 and 2017, Adoption RI received registrations for 383 youth whose foster parents planned to become a permanent family through adoption or guardianship. ARI staff members follow up with the youth’s DCYF worker to offer assistance and help mitigate any barriers to permanency as well as reaching out directly to the pre-adoptive family to offer services or referrals.

The Impact of our Pre-Permanency Child and Family Counseling and Support

Between 2017 and 2019, in our out-patient counseling and community-based support services, we increased the total number of individuals served from 176 to 274; 100% of youth served maintained their placements, or transitioned in order to achieve their permanency goal; 100% of youth made progress toward treatment goals with only one youth having to transition to a higher level of care for highly specialized treatment;

ARI therapists have successfully followed 100% of client transitions in placement, maintaining continuity of care for a population that typically sees many disruptions in treatment.

The Economic Impact of our Adoption and Permanency Services

In 2018, we looked at the 20 most recent adoptions completed through ARI and compared the daily rate of their placement (prior to adoption) to the adoption subsidy. Based on the available data (19 adoptions), the state saved more than $500,000.00 annually.

When this annual cost savings is carried out until age 18 for each youth, the estimated cost savings is more than $3.5 million dollars, which is higher than the ARI full agency budget.Because adoption is an effective intervention for improving a variety of outcomes for those exposed to adverse childhood experiences, there is more savings beyond the placement costs within child welfare.

The Impact of our Sibling Connections Programs

We strive to keep siblings connected and place them together whenever safely possible. It is a core tenet of our work and values. We provide numerous services to help reunify siblings who have been separated and facilitate clinical work to help siblings heal together. Since its inception in 2017, more than 50 siblings have attended our Forever Siblings overnight summer camp programming, which brings together siblings who have been separated in state care.

Adoption RI’s Child & Family Support program also provides clinical support to siblings who are separated in care, working towards reunification, and bridging multiple families to ensure they can share healthy, life-long relationships. Our staff continuously assesses all sibling relationships and connections to ensure support is provided when needed.

The Impact of our Creative Arts Program

The Creative Arts Program at Adoption Rhode Island provides an opportunity for youth impacted by foster care to explore, exercise, and develop their creativity through multiple artistic modalities. The workshops are supported by ARI staff and facilitated by consultants from the community who have a personal and professional background in making their own art and are passionate about giving the same opportunity to youth.

Facilitators provide projects meant to stimulate youth’s minds in new and inventive ways utilizing expected and unexpected materials. Past projects have included painting with q-tips and pencil erasers, creating sculptures, and building and painting model ships and planes.

Post –Permanency services and supports for children, youth and adults impacted by foster care, adoption, guardianship or other complex family structures.

Our support Services team offers a number of groups and workshops for children, both pre and post adoptive, to come together with other children and siblings to share experiences, feelings, hopes and dreams. Groups are offered at different times throughout the year, and focus on specific needs, ages and interests.

The Impact of our Family Preservation Program

Our Preserving Families program provides clinical, case management and parent education support to adoptive families in crisis and in need of intensive supports. Without intervention, the risk for adoption disruption is high.

The primary issues addressed in Preserving Families Behavior Management/Parenting Skills; Educational Challenges; Parental Stress; Clarification & Psycho-education around attachment and trauma

Between 2015 and 2017, thirty-five (35) families exited the program. Ninety-one percent of the cases closed successfully with the adoption preserved and family intact.
Since 2017, client satisfaction surveys have never gone below 85% “strongly agree” or “agree” to multi-pronged anonymous client surveys regarding quality of care

The Impact of our Express Yourself Program

Workshops offered monthly

  • Workshop sizes have varied from 5-25, so I think it’s safe to say the program serves more than 75 children and caregivers each year.
  • Workshops are “a series of therapeutic activities, designed for youth impacted by foster care and adoption.
  • Workshops are done side-by-side w/their caregivers, providing opportunities for children and families to “create” together!

Examples include:

  • Making “Do Not Disturb Door Hangers” for kids to hang on their door while doing homework
  • Making barrel banks to practice saving money
  • Creating bird feeders to watch the birds and squirrels in your backyards together
  • Painting and decorating window box frames to frame a pic of you and fun memory
  • Decorating flower pots and then planting seeds to watch them grow

The impact of our Creative Arts Program

The goal of our 4-week Creative Arts program is to provide children with the opportunity to develop self-awareness and grow by offering an outlet to express their feelings, thoughts and memories in ways that words cannot.

At the conclusion of each 4-week session, it has been consistently reported, based on from youth and staff feedback, that our workshops accomplish our goal of teaching safe and creative coping skills. The creative arts program successfully engaged children by providing a process to learn new ways of self-expression. The activities helped increase the children’s capacity for creative thinking and behavior through various forms of art. This process helped to reduce emotional distress, at least during the time of the class.

Ultimately, practicing these creative activities is likely to contribute to children’s better mental health, and help them to better adapt and become more resilient when dealing with stress in their lives.

Most workshops are two-hour sessions for up to 10 participants. They are held at Adoption Rhode Island and locations across the state. In 2019, the Creative Arts programming expanded is service delivery, offering more than 20 Creative Arts program sessions to two Rhode Island-based residential groups homes for teenage boys and girls.

Youth Transition

In July of 2017, the Teen Focus team was asked to assist with RI Family Court’s first ever calendar specifically for the 200+ youth in care with the permanency goal of Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA). This means neither reunification or adoption/guardianship are appropriate plans for the youth and an alternate plan for permanency needs to be established. Since that summer, Teen Focus staff have been present for over 100 APPLA hearings each year, providing permanency consultation and a point of referral for youth, the court, and DCYF.

The Impact of our Youth Permanency and Education Program

In July of 2017, the Teen Focus team was asked to assist with RI Family Court’s first ever calendar specifically for the 200+ youth in care with the permanency goal of Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA). This means neither reunification or adoption/guardianship are appropriate plans for the youth and an alternate plan for permanency needs to be established. Since that summer, Teen Focus staff have been present for over 100 APPLA hearings each year, providing permanency consultation and a point of referral for youth, the court, and DCYF.

In addition, Adoption RI and RI Family Court worked together to create a document to assist youth in preparing for their court hearings, asking questions related to their understanding of their permanent goal and plan; self-identified needs; permanency options; and ability to participate in typical activities for youth their age. This form is the first of its kind to not only help youth prepare for their court hearing, but also to include the youth’s voice in their permanent court file.

Designed to serve up to 54 youth at a time, the Teen Focus program has consistently been at or near capacity since its inception in January 2017.
Between March 2017 and December 2018, the Teen Focus program served a total of 77 youth, ages 16-21.

Despite research demonstrating the negative outcomes for youth aging out of the foster care system and the challenges faced by the youth served by Teen Focus, this program is documenting progress for many of the referred youth in several key domains (outcomes are reported for youth who participated in the program for 6 months or more. A total of 35 youth closed their cases to Teen Focus on or before December 31, 2018; 26 of the 35 closed cases were youth served for more than 6 months).

  • 73% of the participating youth that exited the program, left foster care with meaningful legal or relational permanent at case closure. This included youth who were able to achieve reunification with their birth parents, placement with relatives and/or other networks of family support.
  • Of the 77 youth served in 2017 and 2018, 54 were engaged in some type of education (high school, GED program, college, college exploration)
  • A total of 26 Teen Focus participants achieved a high school diploma or GED; 8 came to the program with their diploma and another 18 earned their diploma/GED while enrolled in Teen Focus
  • 16 of the 26 high school graduates (62%) had some involvement in higher education, a rate far exceeding the national average

The Impact of our Emergency Assistance Services for At Risk Youth

Since 2017, we have provided nearly $15,000 worth of emergency basic needs such as food, single ride RIPTA bus tickets, clothing, and household items for young adults in need and have provided information and referrals for several young adults who have exited the foster care system, including information about rental assistance, child care assistance, employment, and more. We have convened the first Foster Care Alumni group in RI, which was well attended and will continue to meet regularly. We are currently awaiting approval from the Foster Care Network of America as a RI chapter.

We have been instrumental contributors to the state’s pilot and first official Youth Point in Time Count as well as the development of the state’s plan to end youth homelessness. We have also convened the Youth Futures Council, a group of prominent community, business, and philanthropic leaders, who have an interest in improving outcomes for youth and young adults transitioning from foster care. This group held the first Youth Leadership Summit for foster youth in RI, which had approximately 70 youth in attendance and very positive participant feedback.
Annual Reports