Communications Office:
David Bookstaver, Director
Mai Yee, Assistant Director
(212) 428-2500

Date: November 18, 2000

Seal of the Unified Court System
Court to Give 200 Kids the Gift of Family on Adoption Saturday
NEW YORK - Today the New York City Family Court completed a record number of adoptions in one day, ensuring that over 200 former foster care children will now have a family and home to call their own. The event took place as part of "Adoption Saturday" - a special national campaign to expedite the adoptions of children in foster care.

The adoptions were consolidated from all five boroughs of New York City and handled centrally at the Family Court in Manhattan. Seventeen judicial officers from around the City - including over a dozen Family Court judges - presided over today's adoptions, donating their time along with court staff, attorneys and agency personnel to participate in this event. All the adoptions involved children in foster care under the supervision of the Administration for Children's Services, Direct Care or Contract Care Adoptions.

"The time spent shuttling between foster homes or in limbo waiting to be adopted by a caring family can seem like an eternity to a young child," said Chief Judge Judith Kaye. "The Court must do all that it can to speed the adoption process, working closely with the Administration for Children's Services and its contract agencies to ensure that the process is not slowed by unnecessary delays, for these children to be placed in a stable home and family environment as soon as possible. Adoption Saturday is a thrilling day for everyone: the children, their new parents, and the court and agency personnel who have helped to make these over 200 happy unions possible."

Joseph M. Lauria, the Administrative Judge of the New York City Family Court, said, "The Court's special focus on adoptions today made it possible to accomplish in one single day the same number of adoptions that typically would be finalized in one month. This event, which was spearheaded by the Family Court in collaboration with the Administration for Children's Services, highlights the number of children in foster care currently in need of adoption and shows the happy results of those adoptions."

Adoption Saturday punctuates a three-year intensive push by the New York City Family Court to speed up the adoption process for children in foster care. The court initiative has resulted in thousands of agency adoptions being finalized every year and a significant reduction in the average time for an adoption to be completed after it is first filed with the Family Court: it is now 2 months, down from 6 months before the fast track adoption program began. The Adoption Saturday event comports with the letter and spirit of the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which established shortened timeframes to achieve permanency for children in foster care and which has resulted in a large pool of potential adoptees in New York City.

Adoption Saturday is a nationwide campaign conceived by the Alliance for Children's Rights, a not-for-profit organization devoted to helping impoverished children. The Dave Thomas Foundation and the Freddie Mac Foundation are co-sponsoring the event.