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State Funds To ‘Utah Foster Care’ Diverted To ‘The Adoption Exchange’

MIDVALE, Utah — A big change in a state contract with a local non-profit was announced Monday. For the first time in 20 years, state funds to “Utah Foster Care” will now be going to “The Adoption Exchange” instead.

There are a little more than 1,300 foster parents in the state of Utah, and it’s a need that is always growing.

The Utah chapter of The Adoption Exchange and KSL work together on Wednesday’s Child segments, where people are introduced to Utah children searching for a permanent adoptive home.

“(Utah Foster Care and The Adoption Exchange) are both beloved entities, and I don’t think I could have expected this or anybody could have expected this,” said Diane Moore, with Utah’s Division of Child and Family Services.

In the world of foster care in Utah, there are two organizations on the front line — Utah Foster Care and The Adoption Exchange.

For the past 20 years, the Department of Human Services Family Recruitment and Training contract has been awarded to Utah Foster Care.

“On this (latest) evaluation, there was a successful proposal that shared a vision that the selection committee decided we would follow in the state of Utah,” Moore said.

Beginning July 1, a five year contract will begin with The Adoption Exchange. This means the agency will now be responsible for the recruitment, training, and retention of foster parents in the state.

“I was like literally in shock because this really is such a big deal,” said Kathy Searle with The Adoption Exchange.

She’s not alone.

“This really hits us out of the blue, and it’s been a big shock,” said Rob Gerlach of Utah Foster Care.

Gerlach is a foster parent himself.

He said he wonders what the future will look like.

“My hope is whatever happens, foster families will know how much we care for them, and everyone is working as hard as we can to make sure they are taken care of,” Gerlach said.

The state is aware of the confusion and fear among foster parents with such a big change.

“Anytime you make a change of a service provider that has been providing it for so long, there are always some challenges and difficulties,” Moore said. “I have the utmost respect of both of these agencies, and I really am confident that when everyone focuses on the families and the children they’re caring for, then we will have some great outcomes.”

The Adoption Exchange said they are ready for the challenge, although it is bittersweet due to their close relationship with Utah Foster Care.

“I’m fully confident that we will be able to provide exactly what these families need, and we’re hoping they can move past some of those initial feelings of sadness and shock and loss and give us a chance,” Searle said.

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