National Council For Adoption is proud to present the 2018 Warren and Mary Alice Babineaux Award to Joe Kroll, in recognition of his extraordinary achievements creating positive change in the lives of children in foster care who need permanent families.
The Babineaux Award was presented to Mr. Kroll by NCFA Chairman of the Board Wayne W. Sharp, PhD, at the 2018 National Adoption Conference in College Park, Maryland. Dr. Sharp is the original co-founder of NCFA’s Foster Care Task Force (now Committee) and helped create the Babineaux Award in 2015 to highlight those who are making positive contributions to this cause. He noted that, with nearly 118,000 children in foster care currently waiting to be adopted, the initiatives of advocates like Mr. Kroll can make a huge impact.
L-R: National Council For Adoption Chairman of the Board Wayne W. Sharp, PhD, 2018 Babineaux Award recipient Joe Kroll, and National Council For Adoption President and CEO Chuck Johnson
This year’s awardee, Joe Kroll, is one of the nation’s best known champions and influential voices in child welfare, foster care, and adoption. For 30 years and until 2016, Mr. Kroll was the Executive Director for the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC). Under Mr. Kroll’s leadership, NACAC has grown from a grassroots, all-volunteer organization to an internationally known leader in the field of adoption. Over the years and under Mr. Kroll’s direction, NACAC has had a key role in promoting adoption of children and youth from foster care and in expanding support services for adoptive families, including creating a family-based post-adoption services curriculum. Mr. Kroll was a central figure in helping shape and pass the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, and the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014. Mr. Kroll was also a key ally with National Council For Adoption and many other advocates in helping preserve the adoption tax credit in 2017 when the credit was set for elimination, and remains an outspoken advocate to see the credit be returned to refundability. Mr. Kroll has testified before Congress and spoken at the White House about needed system reforms that would better serve vulnerable children and families.
Mr. Kroll is currently serving as the interim Executive Director of Voice for Adoption. He also serves on the Advisory Board for the Quality Improvement Center for Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation (QIC-AG). He is an adoptive father and resides in Minnesota.
NCFA president and CEO Chuck Johnson says: “This year, I am personally excited to recognize the achievements of Joe Kroll, a man I’ve worked alongside for many years. I have a deep respect for his passion and dedication to families and his collaborative leadership. As I review his incredible legacy of accomplishments, it reminds me what can be accomplished when we come together with the shared goal of ensuring children attain their right to a family. On behalf of NCFA’s Board and staff, thank you Joe for your service.”
About Foster Care
According to the most recent report from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are currently 437,465 children in U.S. foster care. Of these children, 117,794 are waiting to be adopted. In just the past two years, the number of children waiting for a family has increased by about 9%, with the opioid crisis being a large contributing factor. This year, the United States saw a 7% rise in children entering care due to parental drug abuse. This is a national tragedy that must be addressed, as the outcomes for foster youth who age out of care are bleak. With no stable support system, these young adults are at high risk of homelessness, substance abuse, pregnancy, and incarceration. Approximately 20,500 youth aged out of foster care this year and will navigate adulthood without the financial, educational, social, and psychological support they need to thrive.
About The Warren and Mary Alice Babineaux Award
Established in 2015, the Warren and Mary Alice Babineaux Award honors individuals and organizations that have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure children experience the love and stability that come with a forever family. This award is given to those who have demonstrated the most selfless commitment to providing resources, education, and leadership to address the many challenges including parent recruitment, training, and support services necessary to give children safe, stable, and loving adoptive families. The Warren and Mary Alice Babineaux Award acknowledges the dedicated efforts of those who have generously given their time, talents, and resources to ensure that all children can “come home” to a loving, forever family. The award is named for Adoption Hall of Fame recipients Warren and Mary Alice Babineaux who cared for more than 100 children in foster care during their decades-long tenure as foster and adoptive parents in Louisiana.
Previous awardees include: Governor John Kasich of Ohio and Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado (2015), former foster youth Sixto Cancel and the late Nicole Marchman (2016), and NBC4 Washington’s Barbara Harrison and Mississippi’s Executive Director of the Division of Family and Children’s Services Dr. David Chandler (2017).
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