More than 100 children were adopted at an event designed to bring awareness to the ongoing need for foster homes and to celebrate the new families that have been forged.
The Pima County Juvenile Court hosted its 14th annual Adoption Day at Udall Park Saturday morning.
Park gazebos were transformed into makeshift courtrooms where judges and court clerks filed formal adoption proceedings.
103 children were united with 74 adoptive families but recent statistic show the need to give foster children permanent homes is ongoing.
Foster children in Pima County typically wait about two years and four months before being adopted, according to the Pima County Juvenile Court. There are approximately 3,800 foster children in Pima County today; 988 of them are still waiting to be adopted.
Pima County also recorded a 30 percent increase in abused or neglected children between 2009 and 2013.
"We're putting far too many of those children in congregate places like group homes and that's just not good for children. It's better than a shelter, it's better than nothing, but what we really strive to do is put these children in homes where they can be loved and supported," said Arizona Department of Child Services Director Charles Flanagan.
13-year-old Dante Carzoli was among those who were adopted at Udall Park. The Tucson native had been living with his foster parents, Anne and Christopher, in Gilbert, Arizona for the past 15 months. But afterSaturday'ss formal adoption, Dante can now say he has a new, permanent home.
"Anne and I don't have any children in our house right now, so letting Dante into our home, we can really devote our time and attention to him and it's really paid off. He's doing a really great time in school," said Chris Carzoli.