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Sunday August 30th, 2015 10:04AM

Judge calling attention to local children in need of families

By Derreck Booth Anchor/reporter
GAINESVILLE - In the wake of Russia banning adoption of it's orphans by Americans, a Hall County Juvenile Court Judge is calling attention to the children in our area in need of permanent homes.

While he has sympathy for the situation with Russia, Judge Cliff Jolliff said there are about 20 children free for adoption in Hall County.

"It just gave me a moment to say hey!, these children have a voice, and they cry out for a home and they're right here in our own back yard," Jolliff said.

Jolliff said there are about 300 more children available for adoption in Georgia as a whole.

Being so involved in the court system, Jolliff knows many of the Hall County children in need of families.

"We have a number which is small enough so that Judge (Mary) Carden and I, our other (juvenile court) judge, get to know these children while they're in foster care. We're responsible for kind of making sure everybody works as hard as they can to achieve permanency ."

Jolliff said the demand for adoptive families for the children outweighs the current roster.

"I see too many children whose parental rights have been terminated due to severe abuse /neglect-who have waited too long for someone to give them a forever home. Some grow up in foster care and never get a permanent family-in America," Jolliff said.

He said people interested in domestic adoption through the state system, Department of Family and Children's Services, can minimize the risk by becoming adoptive-only foster parents. Those involve children whose parental rights have already been terminated.

He said in some cases there can be contact with the birth family, but that's something he said can happen in private adoption as well.

Jolliff also noted the work of private child placing agencies, such as Bethany Christian Services. Those non-profits are also good resources for those interested in adopting children in Georgia, according to Jolliff.

He said the local children are a diverse bunch, reflecting the community they live in.

"They come in all sizes, shapes, ages, colors and backgrounds. Each one of them deserves that home."

For more information you can contact the Hall County Department of Family and Children Services at 770-532-5298.
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