.. “A social, emotional and legal process through which children or youth become permanent, legal members of a family other than their birth family, while recognizing that children’s psychological, genetic and kinship connections forever link the two families.”
(Reference: OACAS, P.R.I.D.E. training manual)
In recent years, adoption workers in both the public and private spheres have come to recognize how important it is for a child’s well-being that the linkages between their adoptive family and their birth family members be maintained as fully as possible. Typically, this takes the form of openness orders or agreements in which the child’s birth family and their adoptive family agree to remain in contact for the benefit of the child. Forms of openness can range from letters and pictures exchanged at regular intervals to direct visits at agreed upon times. Helping a child maintain meaningful and beneficial relationships with their birth members allows them to know that they are loved by both families and do not have to choose between them.
Did you know?
In fiscal year 2016-2017, 767 adoptions were completed by Ontario CAS’s. There has been a slight decrease in this number over the past five years as CAS’s strive to keep children safely within their families. Over 1/3 of the adoptions completed included openness provisions.
In the same year, youth between the ages of 16 and 18 years of age were the highest represented age group in care.
(Reference: Statistics found at oacas.org/children’s-aid-child-protection/adoption/)
Many people don’t realize that Children’s Aid Societies are responsible for public adoption in Ontario. That role is often misunderstood. Under the CFSA, it is our responsibility to find permanent families for children who, for a variety of reasons, are not able to grow up with their own family. Our primary goal is to help children and youth live safely with their family of origin. For a small number of children, it is not safe for them to remain with family and that’s when we consider alternate arrangements, including adoption as one of those options.