Choices Adoption and all BC adoption agencies, are now able to offer MCFD social workers home studies of approved families signed up with their agencies.
Choices Executive Director Cheryl Fix explains the motivation behind the program. “We realize many of the children we place through international adoption have the same needs and are of the same ages as local waiting children. We also realize that in preparing families with a four-day Adoption Education Program (based on the Ministry model), and studying them under the SAFE homestudy format, the Ministry could utilize these families to place waiting children as well. We want waiting children in BC to be given the first chance for a home.”
Families participating in the program complete their homestudy, receive support in matching and placement and post-placement support and finalization. The families pay the fees for this service. Additionally, at any stage of the process, the MCFD may agree to bring the family on as a Ministry family and the rest of the process will be completed by the MCFD at no charge.
Choices states that this program gives their families and waiting children one more option. The difference for families is that they pay a fee (similar but lower than a local infant placement fee), which they would not incur if they worked directly with the MCFD. The advantage is that the process might be faster than if they worked with the MCFD directly, and the family can receive additional support and potentially be more involved in the process. The advantage for the MCFD is fairly obvious—it costs them nothing and, potentially, they reduce the number of waiting kids. If a family adopts a child from the Ministry via Choices, they are not reimbursed for the cost of having their homestudy done even though families who adopt via the MCFD are not charged for the services they receive.
Asked if adoption agencies placing BC’s Waiting Children is the start of the privatization of adoption in BC, Cheryl Fix was emphatic that there is more than enough work to be done to accommodate such an initiative. “There are more children waiting in government care than the MCFD or any ministry across Canada can make a dent in” she explained. “Waiting children need to have all the families wanting to adopt made available as options, because as MCFD says, and we all agree, ‘Children can’t wait to have a family’!”