ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Catholic Charities in the Diocese of St. Cloud has announced the closing of its adoption and pregnancy counseling services.
The St. Cloud Times reports that the agency only placed two children in adoptive homes in 2015.
Local agency executive director Steve Bresnahan says adoption through his organization has been on a downward trend for 20 to 25 years. In the 1980s, the agency placed about 30 children in adoptive homes each year, and about 20 per year in the 1990s.
Historically low teen pregnancy rates and greater acceptance of single parenting has meant less need for the services.
“The world has really changed,” said Bresnahan. “As a Catholic organization, we’re very concerned that families have a way to form and be supported, but we need to use the resources the community shares with us as wisely as possible.”
The nonprofit follows in the footsteps of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which also closed its services this year. Other agencies across the country have done so as well, Bresnahan said.
One St. Cloud family isn’t sure what the news means for them. Kelly Bartlow and her husband brought their son home in 2011. They’ve been trying to adopt a second child.
“The adoption environment changed a lot in the last few years,” she said. “There have been fewer placements, especially in Minnesota.”
Bartlow said it’s more common now for people looking to place a child to find a family that wants to adopt through their personal and social networks, rather than searching through a book of families and selecting one.
Catholic Charities in the Diocese of St. Cloud says it will maintain adoption records for now, including details of birth parents, and facilitate future information requests. It also plans to develop relationships with other agencies that offer adoption and pregnancy counseling services so they can make referrals.