FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The U.S Department of Health and Human Services and The Administration for Children and Families announced a proposed rule that could make it easier for relatives to foster children whose parents can’t care for them.
A process that Michaela Montie, the executive director for Shared Beginnings in Fayetteville, is also advocating for.
“If children are placed with biological family members, it just helps reduce that trauma and gives them a better sense of self and where they came from as they grow up,” Montie said.
Montie’s nonprofit Shared Beginnings supports intra-family adoption and works that system into their own private adoption agency daily.
“A relative adopting a child so that they stay within their community, within their culture, they know who they are, they know their history, and that’s just extremely important,” Montie said.
However, some of the struggles relatives run into when adopting include not having the access to immediate resources like governmental assistance, food, and clothes.
“That is needed to really provide everything that child needs coming out of whatever situation they’re coming from,” Montie said.
Montie says she knows from personal experience how this new rule could change a child’s life.
“It was definitely, I think, less traumatizing for my daughter to be able to move from staying with her parents into the home of someone she already knew versus moving into the home of a complete stranger,” Montie said.
Montie says her process took her six months, so she hopes this new rule focuses on providing access quicker and placing more foster kids with family,” Montie said.
“If we can pull those resources and pull them up more quickly to open kinship homes for kids that are placed with them, then we’ll be able to probably more readily find those placements that keep connections for kids,” Montie said.