Albany County Department for
Harold L. Joyce Albany County Office Building
112 State Street | Room 300 | Albany, NY 12207
Phone: (518) 447-7324 | Fax: (518) 447-7578
Gail Geohagen-Pratt, Commissioner

Albany County Executive’s Adopt a Family Program

2012 Adopt a Family Happy Kid

Bring the Joy of the Season to Children in Need

It's all about making a difference…

Since its inception, more than 35 years ago, the Adopt-A-Family Program has helped make the holidays a special time for hundreds of local children and families.. Our Department for Children, Youth and Families matches families with donors who can make the season a little better for children and families in Albany County. This year's effort to brighten the holidays for children in need is especially important now more than ever before, as uncertain economic times continue to impact us all, especially families with young children.

You tell us what size family you can provide gifts for. Once matched, you'll get the details: ages and interests of the children, the children's specific wishes and the needs of the family. We'll also provide a suggested gift list to make your shopping easier, but you don't need to stick to the list.

Can't sponsor a family but still want to help? Monetary donations of any amount go towards the purchase of supermarket and department store gift cards to help unsponsored families.

To participate or to learn more, contact Lillian Smith at the Department for Children, Youth and Families by email at; by phone at (518) 447-7064; or you can download the donor registration form and fact sheet. (The form should be used whether you want to adopt a family or send in a monetary donation.)

Adopt-a-Family Program Facts

2012 Adopt a Family Happy Kid

How can I be sure these families are really in need? The families participating in our program have been identified by the Department’s staff as being families in need. You are invited to acquaint yourself with the services we provide by looking around our website. If you would like to receive a copy of our brochure outlining our services, please contact Lillian Smith at (518) 447-7064 or by emailing

What are the costs involved? This depends on the way in which you choose to help. Any amount of new, unwrapped gifts, any amount of a donated service or any amount of a monetary donation is greatly needed and appreciated. If you choose to adopt a family, for first time participants, a small family is recommended - one child/one parent. To provide a point of perspective, $100 per family member may be used as a guide in establishing a cost base..

How will I know what to purchase? After registering, the donor will be provided with information regarding clothing, toys, and possibly house-hold items on their family match. After review of the information provided, the donor will decide what they would like to present in their holiday gift package. Consultation with a staff member is always suggested in an attempt to gain insight as to what the family may need most. However, items such as food, basic toiletries, and outwear are always useful.

Do I have to buy everything on the list? Absolutely not. Sometimes families list a great deal of information, and in some cases expensive items such as appliance, beds, tech equipment and games. In many cases, donors may coincidentally have a match for these large ticket items in their home, in good condition, and are happy to offer them for recycling. The donor is in no way expected to make excessive or expensive purchases.

What if I'm not able to take on the task of shopping but would like to contribute? Monetary donations are accepted and used to purchase gift cards to a local super market and department store to assist families who were not formally adopted.

Should the family be contacted directly? Not without checking with us first. In most cases, communication should be directed to the Department staff. If you are unable to connect with the staff member, call 447-7064 for assistance. There may be some situations in which direct communication with the family would be OK; however, clearance should first be received from the staff member.

What are the delivery requirements? The method of delivery is the donor’s decision. Some donors feel that delivering directly to the family completes the special holiday connection. In this situation, the donor would be matched with a family that is open to accepting delivery directly from the donor. A special note on delivering directly - as with any type of travel to unfamiliar locations, general precautions should be taken regarding safety. For example, it’s best to conduct business during the daylight hours, as well as with a travel partner. Some donors prefer to remain anonymous to the family and choose to deliver the gifts to a neutral location. If delivery by the donor is not possible, arrangements can be made for the gifts to be picked up from the donor’s location. Delivery and any concerns should be coordinated with the Department staff worker.

What happens if I realize I am unable to participate after being matched? We would need to know this as soon as possible. News of being adopted for the holiday brings tremendous relief from many stresses experienced by families, and efforts to locate another donor would be very important.

Your generosity during the holiday season is greatly appreciated!

2012 Adopt a Family Happy Kid

To participate or to learn more, contact Lillian Smith at the Department for Children, Youth and Families by email at; by phone at (518) 447-7064; or you can print out and mail in the donor registration form. (This form should be used whether you want to adopt a family or send in a monetary donation.)

Albany County ExecutiveDaniel P. McCoy