Virginia testing first 'Family Match' program to increase adoptions

New technology could match more children with families

By Jenna Zibton - Anchor

ROANOKE, Va. - Virginia had nearly 750 adoptions last year, the most ever on record, but there are still more than 800 children who can be adopted right now out of foster care.

Virginia is testing new technology that could match more children with families. It's the first-ever program like this in the country. It's called Family Match.

Families enter their information into a database.  Agencies also enter information about children who can be adopted. 

It's similar to the same kind of data that dating websites use, matching like characteristics with like characteristics. 

"It's going to improve the system rapidly and in so many different ways," said Debbie Johnston, adoption champion for Virginia.

"We still go through the process of meeting with the family and the child and after that determine if it's the best fit for the two," said Traci Jones, Virginia Department of Social Services adoption program manager.

The program is being tested in two regions in the Commonwealth. The goal is to expand it across Virginia and then across the country.

To be eligible to participate on the family side, you must already be in the process of being approved to foster and adopt or have a current home study and already be approved. You can learn more on the website here.

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