Jewish Family Services receives grant to support local LGBTQ adoptions
Jewish Family Services (JFS) Adoption is offering four scholarships to LGBTQ+ families wishing to go through the adoption process.
Diversity Richmond (Formerly the Richmond Gay Community Foundation) funded the scholarships with a grant after JFS submitted a grant proposal requesting help for families going through the home study process.
The home study is a six to twelve week process requiring potential adopters to meet with social workers, write autobiographies, obtain reference letters, go through a background check and complete a variety of other steps to determine their suitability to adopt.
“We strive to be compassionate with each and every client,” said JFS Adoption Social Worker Kristie Locke. “They’ve already been through a lot… and when they come to us, sometimes they just need to be built up and shown that respect.”
She says the adoption process can be difficult and JFS works to make adopters feel comfortable and excited despite the hardships.
“It’s a lot of work,” she said. “It makes a person feel scrutinized at times doing a home study, but we try to make it so they don’t feel that way.”
JFS submitted the grant because of a predicted increased interest in LGBT adoptions as marriage equality becomes more widespread. “We are one of the only places in Richmond that can serve those clients,” said JFS Director of Development Alissa Aronovici. “So we thought that it was very good timing because it is somewhat of an unmet need and it aligns very much with our mission.”
The grant aims to help aspiring adopters finish the process and allow other JFS resources to be redirected to other parts of the adoption process.
The program currently facilitates approximately 25 to 30 adoptions per year.
JFS is dedicated to helping members of the community meet life’s challenges regardless of their income, age, religion or race, according to their website. This help comes in the form of adoption facilitation, a robust counseling program and senior care among other services.
Aronovici said JFS is committed to maintaining open arms for the LGBTQ+ community in Richmond and being flexible to the changing needs of their clients. This manifests itself in staff trainings, grant applications and partnerships with other organizations to serve that need.
“JFS is very honored to be partnering with Diversity Richmond and that we look forward to continuing to work with and support the important work that Bill Harrison, their Executive Director, is doing in the community,” she said.
This is the second year Diversity Richmond awarded funding to JFS in order to expand their services to LGBT families.
Aronovici says that compassion is central to JFS’s mission to serve the community.
“The majority [of clients] are in a very vulnerable period in their lives, whether they’re somebody going through the adoption process or a senior that needs help at home or is socially isolated,” she said. “We all really strive very hard to show compassion to every client because we realize that they need our help. They don’t need any judgment, they need someone who understands what they’re going through and has the ability and the compassion to help them get through it.”
“We find that the literature on outcomes for children of same-sex parents is marked by scientific consensus that they experience “no differences” compared to children from other parental configurations.”June 30, 2015
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