This memo describes the new partnership with private licensed adoption agencies to expand special needs adoption services. It advises county social/human service staff that staff of these contract partners have a right to access county records in the same ways as DHFS staff when providing services under this contract.
The Division of Children and Family Services has expanded its capacity to provide special needs adoption services through contracts with private licensed adoption agencies. Beginning in July, these contract partners will provide adoption services for over 200 children and a similar number of prospective adoptive families in the next year.
An adoption agency has been awarded a contract in each of the five DCFS regions outside of Milwaukee County and each contract agency submitted a proposal with two or three sub-contract agencies who will share these responsibilities under the direction of the contracted agency. The following licensed adoption agencies will be working in partnership with DCFS adoption staff in each region:
Adoption social workers in both the public and private sector will now use the same standards for special needs adoption services and benefit from new quality assurance efforts. DCFS staff will be able to provide additional time in concurrent planning consultation to county social/human service agencies. These efforts to consider adoption concurrently with efforts to reunify a foster child with the birth family will minimize the length of stay in foster care, consistent with the goals of the Adoption and Safe Families Act.
DCFS staff will remain the primary contact to county social and human service agencies. The Adoption Unit Supervisors in our regional offices will be available to assist you if any questions arise regarding implementation of this expanded capacity in special needs adoption.
We request the cooperation of your staff to provide the same partnership to representatives of our contract and sub-contract partners as you have and will continue to provide to DCFS adoption social workers. As representatives of DHFS, staff in these contract agencies have access to confidential information needed for providing services under this contract just like DHFS staff. These adoption workers may need to seek information from your agency to pursue a prompt and appropriate adoption for a child and to assess, prepare and support prospective adoptive parents. Our joint efforts will result in permanency for children and stable adoptive families.
The number of special needs adoptions in Wisconsin have increased by 31 percent over the past two years, placing more than 1,200 special needs children for adoption. With your continued efforts to free children for adoption when they cannot be reunited with the birth family promptly and with this new partnership in special needs adoption, we can continue this trend towards permanency.