At the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services, we understand that information on adoption can be overwhelming and confusing, considering that you can adopt from foster care or private adoptions, both domestic and international. We encourage you to research your options to help you find the best fit for your family. At MDCPS, we are looking for families willing and able to parent children in foster care while actively working towards reunification efforts with biological families. Once licensed, you agree to foster children within the foster care system that need your family, not a specific, identified child.
There are times when reunification may not be successful, and if family members are unable to care for the children, adoption becomes possible for the current foster parents. Please keep in mind that when children enter a foster home, there is no way of knowing if the child will become eligible for adoption.
MDCPS does not license adoption-only homes unless the family has been successfully matched with a child on the MS Heart Gallery.
Mississippi Heart Gallery Information and Requirements
Many Mississippi children are waiting to be part of a family. Every child listed on the Heart Gallery is legally free for adoption. Some of the children have special educational, emotional, or medical needs; this information is confidential and does not appear in the children's descriptions. More detailed information about the children can be shared with interested families as they continue the matching process.
Families should not complete an application to become a licensed foster family unless they are matched with a specific child featured on the Heart Gallery. If it is determined that your family is a potential match, the child’s worker will contact you regarding the next steps to becoming licensed.
AdoptUSKids educates families about foster care and adoption and gives child welfare professionals information and support to help them improve their services. They also maintain the nation’s only federally funded photo listing service that connects waiting for children with families. For more information, please visit adoptuskids.org.
AdoptUSKids mission is to raise public awareness about the need for foster and adoptive families for children in the public child welfare system and assist US states, territories, and tribes to recruit, engage, develop, and support foster and adoptive families.
Wendy’s Wonderful Kids
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a national nonprofit public charity, is partnering with MDCPS to implement an expansion of its signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids®, to find adoptive homes for children in Mississippi’s foster care system. This unique public-private partnership will serve children and youth at risk of aging out of foster care without a family, including teenagers, children with special needs, and siblings.
In response to more than 20,000 youth each year aging out of foster care in the United States, in 2004, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption created and launched an aggressive, accountable best practice model to find families for those children most at risk of aging out of care. The Foundation provides grants to local public or private foster care adoption agencies to hire an adoption professional to serve a small caseload of the most difficult to place children. This recruiter implements an intensive, child-focused model (Wendy’s Wonderful Kids) that requires a thorough review of the case file, a face-to-face relationship with the child, collaboration with all adults in the child’s network, assurance of adoption preparation, an aggressive recruitment plan, and diligent search for all potential adoptive parents. Effective, aggressive and accountable recruitment strategies are critical to the success of the Child-Focused Recruitment Model. Rather than casting the broad net of general awareness and recruitment campaigns or defaulting to internet photo listings, media profiles of children or public photography displays, child-focused recruiters are expected to be agents of change in the lives of the children for whom they are recruiting by employing an intensive and exhaustive recruitment strategy.
A five-year independent, rigorous evaluation conducted by Child Trends compared a control group of children with those served by the WWK program and found that children served by Wendy’s Wonderful Kids are 1.7 times more likely to be adopted than those not served by the program. Furthermore, its impact on adoption is strongest among older youth and children with mental health disorders — groups that have traditionally been the least likely to be adopted. Using this evidence-based program, these children are three times more likely to be adopted.