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Cedar Falls

Iowa's Child Success story

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Arnold with his family, Roilene and Dan Paxton. Arnold with his family, Roilene and Dan Paxton.

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- The Iowa's Child adoption program featured Arnold four-years ago, when he was just 16, and one of many ‘Waiting' children in Iowa's Foster Care System. At that time, Arnold's future remained very uncertain. He remained in foster care and was living on the Bremwood campus of Lutheran Services in Iowa in Waverly, preparing for the possibility of being adopted.

Today, it's safe to say Arnold's life is much different. Arnold has been adopted by a Cedar Valley family, RoiLene and Dan Paxton, founders of the Heartland Vineyard Church in Cedar Falls. www.heartlandvineyard.org.

Now, at age 20, Arnold is enjoying his new life. Of RoiLene and Dan, he says, "They never gave up. The kept working with me. I love my family and my church family. I love'em a lot."

RoiLene echoes Arnold's comments by saying, "We love him, too. We've always loved Arnold. He's a big part of our family."

The Paxton's three biological children, a son and two daughters, are all married adults, and RoiLene and Dan already have four grand children. Dan has adopted siblings on his side of the family, so they had thought some about adoption.

Arnold says he truly enjoys attending the contemporary services at Heartland Vineyard Church. He says he loves the church setting and feels it has helped him fit in and feel right at home with his new family. Arnold says he's met so many great new friends though his family's church and he doesn't even like to think where he might be today, had the Paxton's not decided to adopt him.

Interestingly, Arnold maintains contact with his biological mother, who attends Heartland Vineyard on occasion.

To learn about any of Iowa's ‘Waiting Children,' call the IowaKidsNet toll free telephone number, 1-800-243-0756 or contact: www.iowakidsnet.org or www.iowakidsnet.com

Iowa KidsNet is there to help Iowa kids. The Iowa KidsNet project is already having a positive impact in helping kids find safe environments in which to live. This is a unique partnership of several non-profit Iowa agencies, headed by Four Oaks, to help Iowa children and families.

On average, the Iowa foster care system serves more than 11,000 children  every year. Startling statistics, which emphasize the need to make sure all Iowa kids live in a safe and loving environment.

Iowa KidsNet is headquartered at the Four Oaks complex in Cedar Rapids.

The other agencies include Quakerdale, Lutheran Services in Iowa, Family Resources, Children's Square USA/Child Connect and Boys and Girls Home and Family Services.

In addition, Iowa KidsNet gets support from Youth and Shelter Services, The Avalon Center, Young House Family Services, Children and Families of Iowa and American Home Finding Association.

The Iowa Department of Human Services awarded Iowa KidsNet a contract to serve as an adoption and foster care recruitment tool, and to create safe, permanent connections between children and families through foster care.

Unfortunately, Iowa currently has more children in foster care than families available to provide them a safe environment while in foster care.

The need for foster and adoptive parents in Iowa remains great. In fiscal year 2006, the State of Iowa, through various agencies, served 11,748 children in the Iowa foster care system, On any given day in Iowa, some five-thousand children live in Iowa foster homes. Those are truly amazing statistics.

Over the past two years, The Iowa Department of Human Services has embarked on a new initiative regarding foster care and adoptions. D-H-S recently awarded a contract to a new statewide collaboration of non-profit agencies dedicated to the safety and permanency of children and families called Iowa KidsNet. This new network consists of almost a dozen agencies.

Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids is the lead agency in this new effort to recruit and retain resource families who are interested in foster care and adoption of Iowa children. Iowa Kids Net will also work with the long-running Iowa's Child Special Needs Adoption program on KWWL-TV. 

To learn more about Iowa KidsNet and becoming a foster or adoptive parent, you can easily contact Iowa KidsNet on its toll-free number 1-800-243-0756. If this number sounds familiar, it should. It's the same toll- free phone number which has been used by Kidsake over the past few years. Iowa KidsNet has replacing Kidsake, and is building on the successful efforts of Kidsake under Iowa's new and improved recruitment and retention effort.     

Anne Gruenewald is Chief Executive Officer of Iowa KidsNet. Contact Anne on the internet at: www.iowakidsnet.com or www.iowakidsnet.org.

This website will also show you many of Iowa's ‘Waiting' Children. These are children in the Iowa foster care system currently available for legal adoption,

Ron Steele

KWWL-TV News Anchor

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