Public Counsel launched its Adoption Project in 1997 with two staff and a small office at the Children’s Courthouse. Since then, the project has expanded to five staff that partner with hundreds of pro bono attorneys. This year, the project celebrated the finalization of over 10,000 adoptions for children in the foster care system!
Over the years, the project’s work has grown from not just finalizing adoptions, but to advocating to ensure our adopting families have the services and funding they need to stay strong, stable, and together for years to come. Unfortunately, in many of our cases, we find that families are not getting the proper funding and services, and that these critical supports have been incorrect for several years, often jeopardizing the stability of the adoptive placement.
We’re so grateful to have pro bono attorneys—whom we train and support in the work—who advocate for the right level of benefits for children with special needs. We have had cases where pro bono attorneys have secured thousands of dollars of retroactive funding for families. In Los Angeles, the large majority of adopting parents are grandparents and other relatives who have opened their homes to a child with a complex array of special needs in order to keep the child connected to their family, community, culture, and kin network. Often these families are on a fixed income and never imagined that they would be caring for a young child (or a sibling group), especially a child with special needs. The benefits advocacy is a crucial part of our legal representation that sets families up for success and stability.
We are honored to have served so many incredible families over the years, and to have partnered with hundreds of volunteers who are so generous with their time and talents. This holiday season, please consider making a gift to Public Counsel so we can continue another 25 years of support for adoptions in LA County. We are tremendously grateful for your support!