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East Central District Court to Open Saturday to Finalize Adoptions

November 19, 2003

On National Adoption Day, Saturday, November 22, the East Central Judicial District Court in Fargo is opening its doors to finalize adoptions of 16 children, ranging in age from eight months to eleven years of age. All of the children are former foster children. This is the first time North Dakota has participated in the National Adoption Day event.

Since its inception in 2000, National Adoption Day has grown from events in eight jurisdictions to now include events in more than 100 communities throughout the country. Nationally, over 3,000 adoptions will be finalized across the United States this Saturday.

Court officials and officials representing agencies that work with adoption will hold a 30 minute press conference at 11 a.m. at the Cass County Courthouse Rotunda, 211 9th St. S., in Fargo.

Featured speakers will include an adoptive family, Todd and Teresa Kaste, Judge John C. Irby, Judge Wade L. Webb and state and local child welfare officials: Nancy McKenzie, director of Southeast Human Service Center and Kathy Hogan, director of Cass County Social Services.

Judges presiding over the adoption finalizations include Judge Wade L. Webb and Judge John C. Irby. This event is possible because of the support of court staff, attorneys, and agency professionals who work with foster children and adoptive parents.

In 2002, 79 children with special needs were adopted in North Dakota. Thus far during 2003, AASK program agencies, which include the N.D. Department of Human Services, Catholic Charities North Dakota, Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, and the Village Family Service Center, have placed 95 former foster children for adoption. Foster parents adopt most of these children.

At any given time, AASK program agencies work with about 80 children and their families with an active goal of adoption. The AASK program is also involved in the case planning for an additional 120 foster children. Currently staff are seeking families for about 27 children in the state who do not have an identified adoptive family.

Contacts:

Julie Hoffman, Department of Human Services, Adoption Administrator, (701) 328-4805, sohofj@nd.gov
Leanne Johnson, AASK Program Director, (701) 271-3265, ljohnson@lssnd.org
Greg Wallace, Assistant State Court Administrator for Trial Courts, N.D. Supreme Court, (701) 328-4269, or
Heather Steffl, N.D. Department of Human Services, (701) 328-4933

 

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