WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) - Trumbull County Children Services say the number of children coming under its care is increasing, mainly due to the drug epidemic, and so are the number of adoptions.
Friday, Trumbull County's Probate Court hosted its Adoption Day celebration, recognizing families adopting a child. Last year, nearly 35 percent of all adoptions in Trumbull County Probate Court involved children in the care of Children Services.
At 59 years old, Kim Anderson is starting life all over again. She has a new degree, a new career, and Friday, she finalized the adoption of 2-and-a-half-year-old Jerry.
"We call in Life: Part 2 at my house," she said.
Anderson said Jerry was always a part of the family, but the adoption was just a formality. Jerry has been living with Anderson since he was 3 months old. Anderson was his foster mom, and he was her 20th foster child.
"You don't know if they're gonna ever come up for adoption, so you just love 'em, and you work with the agency toward reunification, then if the opportunity arises, then you can adopt, and that's what happened with him," she said.
Children Services is unable to comment on Jerry's history or the reason he was adopted, but he is just one of 20 kids adopted from Trumbull County Children Services so far this year. The agency has 23 others waiting for theirs to be finalized and an additional 23 kids who are looking for forever families in foster care.
Tim Schaffner, executive director of Trumbull County Children Services, said the heroin and prescription drug epidemic are behind many kids landing in the foster care system.
"We're in such a crisis with the opiates. We've really had more and more people stepping up to be foster parents, and the adoptions, we hope continue to go through the roof," he said.
For more information on adopting or becoming a foster parent, go to Trumbull County Children Services' website. To be eligible to be a foster parent, you must be licensed through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, be at least 21 years of age, and you must have a sufficient income to meet the basic needs of the household. Security clearances, fingerprints, a medical exam and psychological exams are required.
Foster parents must also be trained through Trumbull County Children Services.
Adoptions must be approved by the Probate Court.
For more information on adoption, contact the Trumbull County Probate Court at 330-675-2521, or licensed adoption agencies, Trumbull County Children Services Board at 330-372-2010, Catholic Community Services at 330-393-4254 or Northeast Ohio Adoption Services at 330-846-5582.
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