DOUBLE SPRINGS - “I love getting gifts, but last Christmas, I didn’t get anything. I must be bad,” one eight-year-old boy told a Winston County Department of Human Resources employee recently. Santa Claus did not get to come see him last year, but that won’t happen this year, thanks to local individuals and businesses who have made sure the county’s foster children will have a happy Christmas morning.
As of Nov. 19, there were 78 kids in the foster care system in Winston County. As of that date, there were 36 individuals, churches and businesses who have donated enough toys or money to take care of those 78 kids. As of Dec. 10, 121 children in total had been sponsored.
Winston County DHR has compiled a list throughout the years of those who wish to either purchase gifts or donate money.
“We send out letters to all these sponsors,” DHR Director Diane Watson said. “Right now, all of them are sponsored. I have talked with other directors in other counties, and they don’t have this kind of response from their community. They do get sponsors, but they have a difficult time. We’ve always had a wonderful response in Winston County.”
It has been announced the state as a whole is stepping up with 814 foster care adoptions for fiscal year 2020, up from 731 for 2019.
“I am so proud that Alabama has set yet another record and placed so many children in permanent homes,” Governor Kay Ivey said. “I am so appreciative for the innovative work of our adoption professionals and the Department of Human Resources, during this unique time, to complete this record number of adoptions. Also, I sincerely thank our foster families, and most importantly, the forever families, for giving these children loving homes and for your sacrifice and love for our children.”
“This is a truly important milestone in a year that has seen many delays to finalizing adoptions, due to the pandemic,” Alabama Department of Human Resources Commissioner Nancy Buckner added. “We are proud to have found permanency for these 814 children that deserve forever families. We could not have accomplished this milestone without our vital partners in the permanency and adoption process, especially the judges and adoptive parents. However, we must be mindful that the work is not done. We have hundreds of additional children that continue to wait for his or her permanent family. Our staff and others are working hard every day to give these children that needed permanency. There are no unwanted children, just unfound families.”
As of Nov. 24, there were 468 children in Alabama’s foster care system that need forever homes.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.