On March 31, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) decided to end its partnership with two organizations, the Council on Adoptable Children (COAC), and You Gotta Believe, both of which help match foster care children age 8 and older with adoptive parents. The ACS felt it wasn't getting its money's worth out of the agencies.
Rudetsky and his husband, James Wesley, who were in the process of adopting a child through COAC, disagree, and launched a Change.org petition drive in response.
"There are over 1,300 kids in New York City foster care who are available to be adopted right now. However, Mayor De Blasio’s administration has just made it a lot harder for them to find their permanent home," Rudetsky and Wesley wrote in a moving post on the petition page.
It continues: "When a child hits 8-10 years old, they are deemed 'special needs.' Not because of medical issues, but because most adoptive parents only want babies or toddlers, so the chances for these children to get adopted drastically drops the older they get. Many of these kids will reach age 21 and never be adopted. These kids will spend their young lives in and out of foster homes and then become adults without the family safety net most of us take for granted–no family to call and share in the joy when something good happens to them, no one to call to help them out if they’re in trouble, no family to overeat with at Thanksgiving. The majority of kids that are ready to be adopted right now are older and, sadly, there are over 700 kids in New York City alone on the verge of aging out. What is being done about them?"
Rudetsky and Wesley have gathered more than 1,000 signatures. Among those who have either signed the petition or tweeted about it are Broadway stars Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Rosie O'Donnell and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The petition calls on Mayor Bill de Blasio to "reverse his administration’s recent decision cutting funding to the only two agencies dedicated to helping all NYC foster children find adoptive families." Click here to read the petition.
Wesley told Playbill.com, "Since we put the petition up on Change.org, we’ve found out that COAC and You Gotta Believe are needed even more than we had first thought. The city has taken away the only two organizations that helped all NYC foster kids find parents and they replaced it with nothing! What’s going to happen to these kids?."
Rudetsky said that among others who have either signed the petition or tweeted about it: Judd Apatow, Megan Hilty, Laura Benanti, Josh Gad, Lauren Graham, Nia Vardalos, Debra Messing, Anika Larsen, Julie Halston, Chris Jackson, Rosie Perez, Perez Hilton, Hunter Bell, Kristen Johnston, Brian d’Arcy James, Kerry Butler, Patricia Heaton and Dan Bucatinsky.