Site eases adoption process

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 available.

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," he said.

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.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.