British Columbians looking to adopt children and youth from care can now begin their journey online through Adopt BC Kids, announced Minister for Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux at a press conference in Kelowna in advance of Adoption Awareness Month.
“We’re moving adoption in B.C. into the 21st century,” said Cadieux. “We heard from adoptive parents that the old paper-driven, ministry office-based system was cumbersome and just too slow. Adopt BC Kids allows people to manage their application online and helps streamline matching functions for adoption workers, helping us find the right family match for waiting children, quicker.”
Adopt BC Kids is the first website of its kind in Canada – no other jurisdiction offers a personalized and user-friendly system that captures all the foster children available for adoption and the prospective families in one accessible database. Parents can track which of the required documents have been received by the ministry, where they are in the process and better understand next steps. The journey starts with obtaining an identification code from Service BC.
“Adopt BC Kids supports our belief that online and mobile technologies only improve adoption information, support and education,” said Karen Madeiros, executive director of the Adoptive Families Association of BC. “It provides improved access to all waiting parents, and allows applicants to check their application any time, in any location. Helping more adults through the adoption process helps the children waiting for families, and Adopt BC Kids is a big help.”
Prospective parents can narrow their search by different criteria, like the age range of kids they are interested in adopting, whether or not they can adopt a sibling group, and if they are willing to consider providing a permanent home to a child with special needs. Once approved, applicants are given extra clearance to access pictures, video and audio of suitable adoptees. The site also allows families to post pictures and write about their interests and lifestyle, in their own words.
“I think the most exciting aspect of Adopt BC Kids is how it ensures adoptive parents know what stage their application is at, and exactly what they need to do next,” said Jen Hillman, adoptive parent and family support counsellor for Adoptive Families Association of BC. “The automatic system takes the guesswork out of matching parents with a waiting child and, as an adoptive parent to two great kids, now 31 and 25, I only wish this service had been available for me as it offers the support and information parents need to give a child a safe, loving home.”
Adopt BC Kids is strengthened by the addition of new adoption service hub staff who will work with families to ensure all supporting documents, like criminal record and reference checks, are completed and included in the application package prior to it going to an adoption worker for review. This enables adoption workers to focus on in-person parent interviews and home studies.
Adopt BC Kids is a secure site, and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner was included in all stages of its design. Only users who have completed a full criminal record check, home study and have been approved to adopt can access the site and browse adoptive children’s profiles.
If you are interested in becoming an adoptive parent to one of B.C.’s waiting children or youth, call 1 877 ADOPT-07 or visit:www.gov.bc.ca/adoptbckids