Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is reporting an above-average number of adoptions for 2017.
There were 538 adoptions finalized last year, according to the Division of Children and Family Services.
Nanette Simmons, division administrator, says they never know at the start of the year how many adoptions will take place.
“This is a higher number than what we were looking at, but there’s a lot of different variables taken into consideration,” Simmons tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Ultimately, our first goal is to keep children in their homes, safely, if possible.”
Simmons says 150 of the adoptions occurred on November 18, which is the state’s designated Adoption Day.
Efficiencies in the adoption process also contributed to the high number of successful adoptions.
“It’s really looking at collaboration of all parties – the judges, the county attorneys, guardian ad litem, everyone – in regards to making sure we have permanency for the child as soon as possible,” she explains, “if the parents are not able to have that child reunified with them.”
Families who want to adopt must complete several background checks, as well as a home study and walk through of the home by a case worker.
The children adopted in 2017 ranged in age from one to 18 years old.
“We don’t want them lingering out in the system for years,” Simmons says, “so it’s really all parties working together in what’s the best interest of the child.”
Information about adopting a child is available by calling 1-800-7-PARENT.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:34]