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The COVID-19 pandemic is further burdening the foster care system

WLWT |

As of Monday, there are more than 16,000 children in Ohio’s foster care system. Many of them will be reunited with their families. At least, 3,249 will not. Those are the number of children actively awaiting adoption.

The pandemic is slowing down the process, and not just in theory. The data backs that claim.

In 2019 from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 1,355 Ohio children were adopted. In the same time frame in 2020, 1,096 have been adopted. That is a 19% drop and state officials with the department that handles adoption and foster care believe the pandemic is at least partially to blame for that.

WLWT spoke to 16-year-old Hannah, she has the same interests and dreams as other children, with one big difference, she’s also dreaming of finding her forever family.

“I would like to spend the holidays with a family of my own,” Hannah said. She shares a holiday wish to find a family who can give her what so many of us are lucky to take for granted.

“That they care, and they want to raise me, that they are funny, like the same things and are loyal,” Hannah said. “I’ve been waiting for some years and I think you would think I’d be a good daughter.”

14-year-old twins Lacey and Casey are two children hoping to be adopted into a loving home. They are currently part of Warren County Children Services and two of approximately 25 children in Warren County available for adoption.

The two have accepted the fact that if they get adopted, it likely will not be by the same family. They say they’re OK with that.

When WLWT reporter Jatara McGee asked 12-year-old Chad from Clermont County what kind of family he wanted to have, this is how he replied: “A happy one,” he said. “They’re happy and they never get mad. Well they can sometimes get mad, but I hope they don’t always get mad.”

Chad has been in foster care since March of 2016.

He is one of 37 children actively waiting adoption in Clermont County. There are currently around 80 children currently available for adoption through Butler County Children Services, 25 children in Warren County, and 430 children waiting to be adopted in Hamilton County.

There are thousands more in the foster care system across Ohio. If you are interested in learning more about adoption, finding an agency or viewing profiles of available children in Ohio, visit: fosterandadopt.jfs.ohio.gov.

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