CHICAGO (WMBD) — The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is celebrating the lifelong commitment that adoptive parents and families make during Adoption Awareness Month.

In the last ten years, over 17,000 have found their forever homes with Illinois families through DCFS.

“It is our mission to ensure that every child in Illinois grows up in a safe and loving family,” said Illinois DCFS Director Marc D. Smith. “During Adoption Awareness Month we encourage Illinoisans to get involved and become licensed foster, adoptive, or guardianship parents to children who need them and celebrate the thousands of families across the state that have been made whole through adoption.”

In the last fiscal year, there were nearly 2,000 children adopted into a family. There are still almost 20,000 youth in care waiting for their forever families.

DCFS would like to remind Illinois residents that adoption is a serious and permanent commitment to a child. They offer a range of support to adoptive families, including help with attorney fees, court costs, as well as other support.

To learn more about the youth in care, visit the Heart Gallery of Illinois. For further information about becoming an adoptive parent, visit the DCFS website.