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Published: Wednesday, 7/9/2008

In search of parents

IN BLACK neighborhoods of yesteryear, when the well-being of children was jeopardized, somebody - a relative, a friend - willingly took in the youngsters. Because that's no longer the norm, Lucas County Children Services is targeting African-American families to adopt.

Many black children in need of homes are 11 to 15 years old, a difficult age to attract adoptive parents, but they are in vital need of adults to guide them as they mature.

Lucas County has nearly 700 children in its care, with about 133 in permanent custody - many of whom are being adopted. But the agency still needs homes for about 50 children.

Some of them were featured recently at Friendship Baptist Church during a concert to raise awareness of this urgent community problem.

Certainly, the agency does not only seek blacks to adopt. But CSB does have a $211,000 Adopt Ohio Kids grant from the state Department of Job and Family Services, which is funding the campaign.

Of the children in CSB care, 53 percent are black and 47 percent are white. In 2007, 183 children up to age 17 were adopted. Of the prospective parents approved to adopt, 29 percent were black and 67 percent were white.

Still, the color of the parents' skin is not the foremost concern in the hearts of these kids. They want homes where they will be safe, loved, healthy, and well-adjusted. Counseling is available to aid in the transition, and there are financial stipends and medical coverage for parents who qualify.

"Race is not just a factor in determining placement," says Dean Sparks, CSB director. "The question is, can the family meet the children's needs?"

Many African-Americans can help these children, who long for a family's love and care - qualities that know no color. African-Americans can provide them good homes.

Why not now?

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