first-issue-of-adoptalkIn 1969, a group of adoptive parent leaders initiated the formation of the North American Council on Adoptable Children (now Families Rising) to foster information sharing and support among families. A few years later, in 1974, Families Rising was formally established as the North American Council on Adoptable Children, becoming a consistent advocate for children in foster care.

Under the leadership of Laurie Flynn in the late 1970s, Families Rising began a legislative advocacy effort that played a pivotal role in the passage of crucial adoption-related acts.

In 1980, Joe Kroll took over as the executive director, and Families Rising relocated to Minnesota, reinvigorating its core activities. The organization’s focus shifted to the development of support groups.

Joe Kroll 1980Families Rising made significant contributions, such as the creation of the Adoption Council of Canada in 1989 and the publication of child welfare research briefs starting in 1990. Throughout the 1990s, Families Rising continued to expand its influence in advocating for children who needed families and worked on reforming foster care systems across the United States.

In the late 1990s, Families Rising extended its efforts in Minnesota and ventured into state-wide post-adoption services,policy issues, and more.Families Rising intensified its advocacy for public policy changes that benefited children and families in the adoption and foster care systems. Families Rising also expanded its work by focusing on developing the child welfare workforce in North America. Additionally, the organization continued to host conferences that served as a centerpiece for its mission.

This year, under the leadership of Ligia Cushman as the new Chief Executive Officer, Families Rising went through a substantial name change, a crucial step in reorienting our focus towards individuals directly impacted by the child welfare system. The adoption of our new name, “Families Rising,” positions our organization to lead the way in shaping the future of child welfare, while also ensuring that we do not cause harm to those who have had experience with the child welfare system.

Today, Families Rising’s mission is to amplify those with lived expertise, assist adoptive, foster, and kinship parents, educate child welfare professionals, and champion the well-being of children and families.

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