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DSS Adoption Specialist Receives National Honor for Work with Children, Families

DSS Adoption Specialist Marie Rudison is the September recipient of AdoptUsKids' Caseworker of the Month award, part of national initiative which celebrates caseworkers for their dedication to children and families.

A 30-year veteran of DSS, Rudison has worked with Office of Community Services (OCS) in the Covington Regional Office since 2005.

"I commend Ms. Rudison for receiving this award and for her dedication and commitment to the incredibly important work that she and her fellow adoption specialists do everyday," said DSS Secretary Kristy Nichols.  "The best place for a child is in a permanent home, and our Adoption Specialists work very hard to place adoptive children in homes where both the child and the family can thrive."

Rudison was nominated for the award by the Bauers family with whom she has worked on two adoptions.  When they decided to adopt a second time, the family specifically requested Rudison as their caseworker.

"The first time we became parents was when we adopted a sibling group of three, and Marie was our adoption worker," said Cyndy Bauers. "Although Marie finalizes many, many adoptions every year, she realizes that it is a very special time for you and seems to be as excited as the adoptive parents are about the process. When you doing something as monumental as adopting a child you want to know that you are working with someone who truly cares about making your experience a special one and Marie is that person."

Rudison says it is a pleasure to work with families like the Bauers' who open their hearts and provide caring and loving homes for children through adoption.

"It is most rewarding to be a part of an agency that can make such a profound impact on the lives of the people we serve," said Rudison. "I am very passionate about helping people and my desire is to make a positive difference in the lives of the families I work with. As an adoption worker, my ultimate goal is to ensure that our children are connected with forever families in such a way that permanency is established in a timely, respectful, and professional manner."

OCS adoption services seeks adoptive home placement of children who are in the Department of Children & Family Services' custody and are legally free for adoption. Services include the assessment of families who apply to adopt, matching available children with available homes, preparing children for placement, and providing services to our adoptive children and families before, during, and after placement is made to include provisions of adoption subsidy services to eligible families.

In 2008, 433 families in Louisiana made adoptive commitments to 597 children. Currently, there are a total of 4,794 Louisiana children in foster care.  Of these 697 are available for adoption, and 312 children do not have an identified adoptive home.

In February 2009, DSS began featuring profiles and photographs of children who are eligible for adoption on the main page of the agency's Web site to draw attention to the need for adoptive families for children in foster care. Each month, new profiles of children from each region of the state are added and featured on the main page.  A total of 47 children and sibling groups are featured on the site at

The DSS Web site also features information for prospective adoptive parents, including guides to determine if you are ready to open your home to a child and instructions on how to start the adoption process at, as well as a link to AdoptUsKids, a national adoption Web site featuring information about 136 Louisiana foster children available for adoption.

A 2006 American University study found that children who are adopted are 23 percent more likely to complete high school or its equivalent and are twice as likely to obtain additional schooling after secondary school relative to peers who remain in their original inadequate environment. The same study found that adopted children are 22 percent more likely to be in the labor force and earn higher incomes as young adults.

The Collaboration to AdoptUsKids

The Collaboration to AdoptUsKids is a multi-faceted, five-year, federally funded project. Its mission is to assist States and Tribes in their efforts to recruit and connect foster and adoptive families with waiting children throughout the United States. The Collaboration is managed by the Adoption Exchange Association (AEA) based in Baltimore, Maryland, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children's Bureau. For more information, call AdoptUsKids at (888) 200-4005.

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