Site eases adoption process
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Feb 14, 2002
Three years ago, when a Texas state agency launched a child adoption service
by posting photos on a Web site, the adoption rate improved and the agency
was commended by then-Gov. George W. Bush.
Since then, the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services
revamped the site (www.adoptchildren.org)
in November 2001, adding more information about the children, including
their developmental, physical, emotional and medical needs. The site, which
lists children 6 years and older, posts a child's first name, gender, ethnicity,
personal profile, his or her desired family profile and whether he or she
has any siblings. Prospective parents can even view a video of a child if
The site, which has a database of about 850 children, has since been
getting about 3,000 unique hits and 20,000 page views a month, said Sean
Toole, an associate partner with Accenture, which helped revamp the site.
"That's pretty good considering this is a fairly specialized Web site,"
About 400 children are on target to be adopted this year, he said. Last
year, the figure was about 340. In the first year, about 260 children were
adopted with help from the site.
Toole said the agency, which accepts children based on involuntary circumstances,
such as abuse, neglect, if parental rights have been terminated or if parents
are deceased, was focused on cutting down the time children wait to be adopted.
The process usually takes more than a year, but the Web site is helping
to reduce the time by providing full disclosure of the child's needs.
Full disclosure lessens any emotional trauma for a child and prospective
parents when they meet, Toole said. In the past, if prospective parents
met a child but became disinterested in him or her, then it might be "very
traumatic and very sad" for that child whose expectations may have been
high, he said. The agency wants to make sure prospective parents know everything
about a child before meeting him or her, he added.
"If you're not ready to take on these responsibilities, don't get started,"
Toole said. "They're trying to reduce their rate of people walking away
from the process."
The state agency initially paid Accenture, which has done work for the
agency previously, $43,000 through a grant for a conceptual design plan
for a revamped site. When agency officials realized they could not afford
to redesign the site, Accenture decided to do it for free, in essence donating
about $180,000 in time and manpower, Toole said.
"If we were going to make a contribution back to the client and back
to the state, this is where we were going to do it," said Toole on why Accenture
decided to donate its services.