Last year 538 adoptions were finalized in Nebraska, according to an announcement from Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) last week. That number was only exceeded on other year – 2008, when 572 adoptions were finalized.
Adoption have been steadily increasing in the state, with an average of 532 adoptions finalized annually from 2006 to 2016. For the 10 years prior to that, the number of adoptions averaged only 283 annually.
In a press release, Division of Children and Family Services (CFS) Administrator Nanette Simmons, noted that adoptions can be attributed to several factors, including an increase in the number of children in state’s care. According to federal data, the number of foster youth in the state rose from 3,725 in 2015 to 4,012 in 2016. But in August of 2017, Nebraska officials told The Chronicle of Social Change that the number of youth in care had fallen to 3,458.
The number of youth designated as “waiting for adoption” has stayed relatively stable: 692 in 2014, 709 in 2015, and 715 in 2016.
Simmons goes on to say in the press release that it’s difficult to attribute the increased adoptions to any one thing, especially since the state emphasizes reunification with biological parents and placements with relative caregivers.
“Permanency, our primary goal, includes reunification, adoption, guardianship or independent living,” Simmons said in the release. “It means collaborating with biological parents, judges, attorneys, guardians ad litem, foster parents, adoptive parents and service providers, to ensure the placement is in the best interests of the child.”
In 2017, 150 adoptions alone occurred on November 18, National Adoption Day, the Saturday before Thanksgiving that is designated to complete adoptions in court rooms across the country. Since its inception more than 17 years ago by Judge Michael Nash, more than 65,000 adoptions have been completed on National Adoption Day.
Nebraska operates a special call-in number for those interested in adopting, 1-800-7PARENT (1-800-772-7368).