Spence-Chapin announcement

Date: 2013-08-01


Dear Spence-Chapin Community

During the past year, the Board and the staff have been engaged in a stragic planning process to access the strength and future of our organization. We have examined how adoption trends have changed over the past 25 years, how we can respond to changed in the field, and how we can better meet the needs of the children who require our services the most.

In the US and around the world, the number of infants and young children available for adoption has declined due to a number of factors: reduced stigma of single parent households, increased access to birth control, family reunification programs, in-country adoption programs, and difficult bureaucratic or political policies.

At the same time, the number of school-age children sibling groups and children with special needs living in institutions has grown considerably. There are 132 million children world-wide without families and 95% percent of those children are over the age of 6. These children blossom when given the opportunity, support, and resources to live within the stability and safety of a permanent loving family.

With this understanding, Spence-Chapin has decided to focus our resources on finding homes for these most vulnerable children both domestically and internationally. We are excited to share the initial steps we are taking to shift our activities to align with this focus.

We are thoughtfully transitioning the programs that fall outside the scope of this strategy - Korea, China, Moldova, Morocco - to like-minded adoption agencies. We have identified the Cradle, who shares our philosophical approach, to continue our Infant Adoption program on-site with existing staff. This agency is in the process of acquiring their New York State license. We will continue to serve our current families for the next year with no decrease in our services.

We will be working with a limited number of countries - Bulgaria, Colombia and South Africa - to find homes for these children that are routinely overlooked. We are piloting a host-to-adopt program in coordination with The Foundation for the Assistance of Abandoned Children (FANA} to find homes for school-age children from Colombia. Domestically we are developing a program in corroboration with the Foster Care system to place older children freed for adoption with permanent families. Specific program details will be forthcoming. We are continuing our ASAP program that finds homes for medically fragile infants.

Our commitment to helping the children that are being left behind runs deep. To underscore that commitment, Spence-Chapin will eliminate any financial barriers for traditional and non- traditional families who can consider opening up their lives and their hearts to this very special population -- those families will no longer be responsible for adoption fees.

The organization's efforts will be subsidized by our newly expanded fee-for-service department which offers a range of services including domestic and international home study and post- adoption services. As we move to the future, we remain committed to supporting all members of the adoption triad with expanded programs in many areas of our practice including counseling, parent coaching, support groups, post-adoption reporting, home studies, mentorship programs, and other services. We will expand our commitment to birth parent support by offering counseling for blended families, including those negotiating open family relationships.

With this shift Spence-Chapin will become a pioneer once again. We hope you will continue to see us as your number one philanthropic cause - these children and families will be depending on your generosity through their journey to permanency and beyond. Your past support has made a profound difference and we are extremely grateful.
We will keep you informed as things progress and hope you and your families are enjoying time
together this summer.

Maud Welles
Board Chair
Emily Forhman
Executive Director


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