Florida Adopts Online Dating Technology to Connect Foster Kids with New Families

Family-Match is a Florida-based adoption service that specializes in connecting older “harder-to-adopt” children with prospective pre-screened foster parents. What differentiates this adoption service from the litany of others is their integration of cutting edge social compatibility technology used in online dating to help the State’s more than 800 children in foster care.

This innovative system of adoption utilizes a combination of sophisticated algorithms, social psychology and artificial intelligence that emphasizes compatibility, not availability. Family-Match’s lead developer, Gian Gonzaga, former head of research and development at the popular online dating company e-Harmony, brought his expertise of data science and matching systems to Family-Match and applied it to connecting foster children with potential parents.

For more in-depth coverage on Family-Match, click here.

Family-Match works by having prospective foster parents fill out detailed questionnaires about interests, parenting style and personality. Foster kids, along with case or social workers, fill out similar questionnaires and are matched based on a series of highly advanced computer calculations.

The system focuses on children ages 4 to 17 years old since most foster parents prefer adopting babies and younger children. Research shows that children that ”age out” of foster care, by turning 18 years old without being adopted, are at an particularly high risk of becoming homeless.

Another advantage of this recently launched adoption program is it is able to merge databases of all the foster children in Florida, along with all the State’s potential foster parents, increasing the likelihood of a positive match. In the past, hopeful parents were basically limited to a pool of foster children in their own local communities.

The Selfless Love Foundation and Adoption-Share are the two non-profit organizations backing Family-Match. The Selfless Love Foundation includes major contributions from professional racecar driver Ed Brown as well as CEO and founder of Patron Tequila, John Paul DeJoria and his wife Ashley, who was herself adopted as a child.

Connecticut Foster and Adoption Organizations Try To Raise Awareness

Being a foster parent, and adopting a child, is two of the most significant ways to show compassion and love. One town wants to raise awareness about the growing need for foster and adoptive homes. The Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Coalition Team of Connecticut is hosting a special event to raise awareness to the ever-growing demand. With more than 428,000 children in the US foster care system, help is needed.

 

On Saturday, the United Church of Christ at 283 Main St. in Sandbury, will hold the event. Here, several agencies and supports from many communities will gather to answer questions from prospective families. The various organizations will have informational booths set up to help people understand the process and to learn what they need to do.

 

Unlike international adoption, domestic adoption comes with financial assistance and little to no out of pocket costs. Many people hear horror stories about foster care and adopting and shy away from this, even though their heart tells them to help a child. The few stories that leak into the news are always about the dysfunctional and often downsides of the system. However, it seems like the good things are never mentioned.

 

This event will help to boost the number of foster and adoptive homes in Connecticut. The Department of Job and Family Services will be on-site to help families register. The free training is very informative and required. Though, foster parents are reimbursed for their time. Fostering-to-adopt is the easiest way to adopt a child in the United States. It allows a child to be placed into a home for six months or more and the family can decide whether to move forward with making the child a permanent part of their family.

 

Last year’s event was a smashing success, and the number of fostering and adoptive parents increased. The demand is still high. The organizations hope that they will see even better results, this year, from a higher turnout.

Foster Families Needed In Indiana

There is a growing need for foster parents in Indiana. Many children have been taken from their homes and put in foster care because of the growing substance abuse problem in the state. Department of Child Services has already completed 1,800 adoptions this year. Three years ago, only 1,000 children in Indiana were adopted.

 

Mary Beth Bonaventura is the Director of the Department of Social Services in Indiana. She stated that there is a great need for foster homes. This is the most children that DCS in Indiana has had in custody at one time. There are currently 23,000 children in foster care in the state.

 

In many cases, the children stay with their extended family until they are adopted. Children are sometimes able to be reunited with their biological parents. However, this can be a difficult process. It can also be a long process. It is especially important for older children to be in a good home.

 

Some children who grow in foster care end up struggling with addiction or go to jail. However, many of them are able to become successful adults because they get put with a good family. Mary has a personal story of a child who grew up in foster care. There was a boy who was struggling and fighting with everyone. His life changed for the better after he was placed with the right family.

 

He graduated from high school with honors. DCS has a program called the Indiana Heart Gallery. This program promotes adoption by sharing photos and success stories of children who have been adopted. This program was created by the Indiana Department of Child Services in 2007.