A Human Services program, LINKS, is available to children in foster care who are between the ages of 13 and 21. LINKS helps children with life skills and support systems.
When children are ages 13 through 15, the LINKS focus is on determining the skills children will need to become a young adult and exposing children to opportunities for building the skills they need in order to be successful in life. The emphasis is on planning ahead and identifying resources.
When children are ages 16 through 18, the LINKS assessment process continues, but more activities and opportunities are available. The program assists youth as they become self-sufficient young adults becomes the primary focus of the program. Each child is assisted with the development of a people who can assist and support them as young adults. The LINKS program provides financial assistance to enable these young people to participate in special projects, activities and seminars.
The LINKS program can continue to assist the youth in becoming self-sufficient between 18-21 years of age if the child(ren) were in DSS custody anytime between the ages of 13 and their 18th birthday. The program focuses on assisting with completion of high school, obtaining a GED, employment, budgeting, family planning, how to set up a household, etc.
Adoption is the method provided by law to establish the legal relationship of a parent and child who are not parent and child by birth. Once the adoption is final, the adoptive parent and child would have the same mutual rights and obligations that exist between children and birth parents.
The primary purpose of adoption is to help children whose parents are incapable of assuming or continuing parental responsibilities to become a part of a new family. In order for adoption to occur, the parental rights of the child’s biological parents must terminated by a juvenile court holding jurisdiction or the biological parents must relinquish their parental rights.
Once the child is legally clear, the adoption process can be finalized. The process of finalizing an adoption involves specific time frames as set forth by law and generally takes 90 to 120 d
ays to complete. Once the adoption is finalized, a new birth certificate is issued for the child.
Placement of the child in an adoptive home is based on the needs and attachments of the child and on the strengths and needs of the prospective family.