|Vermont adoptions (Free Press graphic)|
Vermont this year has processed 217 adoptions, as of last week, and 17 more are expected to be finalized by the end of 2016, McCullum writes. "An additional 12 adoptions were completed with a child's relatives through a process known as a conditional custody order." Chief Superior Court Judge Brian Grearson told McCullum. “It’s not a record that anybody wants to beat. I mean, it’s reality. . . . If that’s the best result for a child, it’s important that it be done as soon as possible. I wish we could be talking about something other than a record number of adoptions."
Karen Shea, interim deputy commissioner for the Family Services Division at the state Department for Children and Families, said "Young children remain the largest group in state custody today," McCullum writes. "As of Dec. 1, Vermont had custody of 1,328 children, she said. More than 500 of them were infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children. Just over half the children who enter state custody are eventually returned to a parent's care, Shea said. That statistic, known as the reunification rate, rose from 44 percent in 2015."