Click on each factor to learn more. Current as of July, 2014. This information is subject to change; therefore, check with an adoption agency or your local child welfare agency for the most current information.
There are two basic ways to adopt from foster care:
- Adopt a child whose parental rights have already been terminated. There are approximately 102,000 children in foster care systems throughout the US currently waiting for an adoptive home. The average age is about 7.5 and there are many sibling groups.
- Foster to Adopt. Parents that ultimately want to adopt first become foster parents. Parental rights for the children placed with them have not been terminated. The goal of our foster care system is family reunification, and often foster parents are expected to work to help achieve this goal. Reunification is success about 50% of the time. If not successful, extended family is sought, and if not found, foster parents are usually given the first chance to adopt. Approximately 22-24% of children who enter foster care will be adopted. Younger child are more likely to be adopted via the foster to adopt route.
Each state and territory in the US has slightly different laws and regulations that apply to foster care adoptions, and an even greater variety of interpretations of these laws. What this means for pre-adoptive parents is that there are great differences on how willing caseworkers in the local child welfare/foster care agencies are to work with adoptive families.
Adoptive parents can work with either the county level child welfare/foster care agency or, in most states, they can work with a private adoption agency that has a contract with the state to place foster children.
Medical information after birth is excellent and whatever is known about prenatal care is provided to the adoptive parents. Birth mothers are asked about prenatal habits, care, and family medical history, but keep in mind that she may not share or know all this information.
Adopting from Foster Care (CAF show)
Fostering and Adopting Children in Foster Care (CAF show)
Foster Care Adoption (CAF show)
Adoption Subsidies and Benefits When Adopting from Foster Care (CAF show)
Administration for Children & Families
Child Welfare Information Gateway
North American Council on Adoptable Children
Adopt US Kids
Dave Thomas Foundation For Adoption
Foster Parent College
Fostering Great Ideas
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