• To develop permanent family connections for youth in foster care who cannot safely return home
• To center recruitment efforts on each youth’s individual desires for family support
• To prepare and support families before and after each permanency placement
Each week, the news anchor of an Idaho television station introduces a pre-recorded segment of a youth who is waiting in foster care for a permanent family. S/he may be feeding ducks, working on a scrapbook, painting ceramics or eating ice cream sundaes. S/he may be chatting about school, favorite sports, a recent award or how long s/he has waited in foster care for an adoptive family. This child-specific adoption program is accomplished through contracts and private foundation grants with Special Needs Adoptive Parent Services, Inc. (SNAPS), a charitable non-profit corporation. SNAPS brings the voices and faces of waiting children into the living rooms of families who might want to adopt them - one face, one story, one dream at a time.
The broadcast areas for three network stations that serve any Idaho child needing an adoptive family are: KTVB News Channel 7 in Boise, KIFI Local News 8 in Idaho Falls (occasional intrviews), and KXLY Local News 8 (N. Idaho), cover major viewing areas throughout the Northwest.
Families in several communities will also read a weekly Wednesday's Child column in their local newspaper. Topped by a professional portrait of that week's waiting child, the column may also include a personal written message from each child to prospective families. (Please see Trevor's message.)
Each column is built upon a youth’s unique strengths and capabilities, with input coming directly from the child as well as an adoption social worker and/or foster parent. Challenges are expressed in a "needs" list of parenting knowledge or skills that will build success for that particular child. The image, child message and parenting criteria help families make an emotional connection, while matching their abilities to a particular child's needs.
With the click of a computer mouse, families inside and outside the United States can view portraits and personality sketches at www.idahowednesdayschild.org. They may also view a digital file of the Wednesday's Child television segment, if one is available. Families may also call a toll-free line to be connected with the child's agency or to receive information about how to complete an adoption home study and find special needs parent training.
The most unique aspect of this adoption promotion program is that the Wednesday's Child program and three participating television stations share promotional resources in the Northwest. These innovative collaborations create a special synergy that spells success for children. The outcomes are more qualified families to choose from, quicker placements, and committed parents who know how to put children first in their lives.
The core partnership between state agencies and SNAPS is dedicated to the development, nurturing, and coordination of multiple government and private collaborative relationships in order to reduce barriers to adoption. The project has powered a dramatic increase in adoptive placements for children who might otherwise have spent precious childhood years moving from one temporary home to another.
On average, 70-75 children are served by SNAPS each year. Over 80 percent of website listings were deactivated by caseworkers because of a permanent family placement decision. These placements include adoption by families known to the child (foster parents, teachers, mentors, etc.), adoption by recruited families and guardianships.
Business and government leaders support Wednesday's Child without reservation. Community in-kind contributions of goods and services are $250-300,000 annually. Over ninety businesses and agencies have contributed admission, materials, time and remembrance gifts for waiting children since SNAPS, Inc. was established in 2002. The most unique aspect of this program, however, does not lie in statistics. Its success lies in community ownership of a solution that money can't buy...lifetime commitment to a child who wants to belong to a family.
For a History of the Idaho Wednesday's Child program in Idaho, click here.