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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 1999

Ryan Announces "Wednesday's Child" National Adoption Initiative

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today recognized Illinois' leading role in matching state wards with permanent, adoptive families by helping launch the Wednesday's Child adoption initiative in partnership with the Freddie Mac Foundation and the NBC Television Network.

"It is truly an honor for Illinois to be chosen as one of the six states to participate in this national adoption program," Ryan said. "The State of Illinois has emerged as a national leader in adoptions and permanency for the children who enter the foster care system. It fits that we should be involved in such a successful program," he added.

Ryan was joined by the Department of Children and Family Services Director Jess McDonald at the event, which was held at the Club Symphony Center on Michigan Avenue. DCFS will receive a two-year, $930,000 grant from the Freddie Mac Foundation to help make Wednesday's Child possible. Wednesday's Child is a weekly-televised adoption feature that will assist in recruiting families for Chicago area foster children in need of adoptive homes.

Starting this week on NBC 5's 6:00 p.m. newscast, anchor Allison Rosati, a former foster child, will host segments featuring special needs children in foster care. The features will air weekly on Wednesday and Sunday mornings.

Ryan said Illinois will announce its fiscal year 1999 adoption accomplishments this month. "In fiscal year 1998, DCFS adoption numbers reached 4,239, nearly double the 2,229 adoptions recorded during the previous year. And the numbers for this past year are looking as if they will be just as impressive," Ryan added.

McDonald noted that with Illinois currently leading the nation in adoptions of children in state care, the foundation for the program has been established. "Yet, even with these accomplishments there are still so many children who need a place to call home. Of the 30,000 Chicago-area children presently living in foster care, 600 are in immediate need of an adoptive home with a loving family," McDonald said. "We are always interested in initiatives such as Wednesday's Child that promote adoptions."

Ryan commended Director McDonald and his staff for the work that has been done in Illinois to find homes for the state's wards. "But with the money and publicity from this program, we will be able to do even better," he added.


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