This past weekend at Gladney's January Board Meeting, we celebrated the career of Ellen Wilson, Gladney's CFO for 19 years.
Gladney has been placing children from foster care for many years. In October 2018, the Gladney Center Board of Directors voted to further advance Gladney’s focus and mission by creating a task force to grow and improve adoptions from foster care. The purpose of the task force is “to create a sustainable and replicable model that places every adoptable child waiting in Texas foster care.” The members of the task force include Gladney board members, Gladney parents who adopted children from foster care, and Gladney staff, with input from outside experts in relevant fields. Gladney board member Roger Metz serves as the chair of the task force. This group begins its exciting and strategic work this month.
In preparation for the creation of the task force and its work, Gladney staff spent the summer and fall researching questions and issues affecting foster care and pulling data, information, and anecdotal evidence regarding children in foster care who are waiting for adoption. Gladney staff will continue to work closely with Our Community Our Kids in Fort Worth, in order to identify children who need adoptive homes much earlier in their legal process than in the past. Our staff are also communicating with Child Protective Services and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers from around the state who are advocating for children throughout the legal process. In addition, Gladney has begun to open lines of communication with agencies across the United States who are screening, educating, training, and offering supportive services to prospective families who want to adopt children from foster care.
The task force will begin to assess what would be the highest and best use of Gladney’s strengths and what Gladney’s primary role should be in meeting the needs of these waiting children. They will approach the issues from three directions: impacting external systems to serve children and families; constructing the best internal systems to create scalability; and ensuring long-term sustainability. Once the initial work is started, the task force will work to create strategies for success, set objectives with clear measurable goals, and provide input and evaluate Gladney’s progress against the strategies’ short, intermediate, and long-term goals and desired outcomes.
Gladney’s mission is Creating Bright Futures Through Adoption. With the work of Gladney’s board, committed staff, engaged volunteers, and collaborative partners, we hope to impact the futures of thousands of children who are waiting in foster care for a forever family, because every one of these children deserves a loving and caring family.
I have had the opportunity to serve Gladney for portions of the last three decades. I began as a Financial Consultant, helping to organize the Gladney Fund in the early 1990s. I fell in love with the organization and its mission to build “Bright Futures Through Adoption.” As a young wife and mother myself, I was immersed in the culture of families and children, the broader “Gladney Family.” It has been my privilege to have been a part of this family and to see the positive impact an adoption agency in Fort Worth, Texas, has had on birth mothers, children, adoptive families, our country, and the world.
I hope you are all enjoying the holidays! A fun story I thought I’d share. Back in 1999, Gladney celebrated our 25,000th adoption by buying a $25,000 bond as a scholarship for the child when they reach college age. Well it happened!