To coincide with National Adoption Month, the Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.) and Jockey International, Inc., launched the expansion of the Jockey Being Family® Backpack Program last month at an adoption finalization ceremony for 11 new local families at the Upper Marlboro Courthouse in Prince George’s County, Md. The program will provide backpacks filled with teddy bears, blankets, clothes and games to children adopted through the Department of Social Services in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. C.A.S.E will serve as official partner of the program and manage distribution of the backpacks while supplying resources and support materials to new parents. Maryland Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown provided remarks at the program kick off.
Children adopted through the child welfare system arrive at new homes with little more than the clothes on their backs and a few personal items, often carried in a simple garbage bag. These children have early life experiences that are marked with poverty, abuse, neglect and deprivation, creating unique challenges for their new families. To address these challenges, C.A.S.E. and Jockey have partnered to bring the Jockey Being Family® Backpack Program to the area.
“We began Jockey Being Family in 2005 as a corporate citizenship initiative to help strengthen adoptive families for successful futures,” said Debra S. Waller, Chairman and CEO of Jockey. “The backpack portion of our program was developed to provide comfort, stability and resources to families that adopt from the child welfare system. C.A.S.E. shares in our mission and with their guidance, we hope to expand the Jockey Being Family® Backpack Program nationally.”
Since 2005, Jockey has created and distributed nearly 4,500 backpacks to 1,500 adoptive families throughout Wisconsin. Through its partnership with C.A.S.E., Jockey plans to distribute more than 5,000 backpacks throughout the U.S. Providing backpacks to families provides C.A.S.E. professionals with the opportunity to talk to families about their successes and challenges and help provide resources to ensure the families stay together forever.
“We are so honored to be involved with the expansion of the Jockey Being Family® Backpack Program,” said Debbie Riley, C.A.S.E. CEO. “Jockey has been a long-time supporter of our organization, and we welcome the opportunity to bring our local and national resources and adoption expertise to help brighten beginnings for new families and offer support throughout the wonderful journey of adoption.”
C.A.S.E.-supplied materials found in the backpacks include 52 Ways to Talk about Adoption, a deck of therapeutic playing cards for families; Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens, a book on the unique issues that adopted teens face, W.I.S.E. Up! an empowerment tool for children to decide when, if and how to share their story about adoption; and a card providing information on the resources that C.A.S.E. provides for the challenges that may lie ahead for adoptive families.
For more information on the Jockey Being Family®, visit www.jockeybeingfamily.com.
For more information about C.A.S.E., visit www.adoptionsupport.org.