Foster Care Adoption
Approximately 56,000 children are adopted each year from foster care, but about 100,000 kids are still waiting to be adopted. They are ready and available for parents. They are simply waiting. About 390,000 kids are in foster care and in need of foster parents while a decision is made on whether they will be able to be returned to their biological families or they will be available for adoption.
- Direct Foster Care Adoption: There are about 113,000 children whose parental rights have already been terminated and for whom their caseworkers seek adoptive families. The average age of children in foster care is eight (8) years old — 44% of kids in foster care are nine (9) years and older. Finding foster and adoptive placements for these older kids is particularly challenging.
- Foster to Adopt: The US has approximately 390,000 children in foster care that have been removed from their biological parents due to abuse or neglect. These children are placed in foster homes while state social workers work with their birth families. The goal of foster care is to heal birth families so that children can return home. Foster families are expected to work with social workers on reunification. Children can return to their families about half the time. When family reunification is impossible, adoptive families are sought, and the foster family is usually given the first choice at adoption. Approximately 25% of children in foster care will ultimately be adopted, most often by their foster family. There are wide variances within states and counties within states on the willingness to work with foster families whose ultimate goal is adoption.
This CreatingaFamilyEd.org online course is a great introduction to how to adopt from foster care: Introduction to Foster Care Adoption
Gender: About 51% of kids in care are boys, and 49% are girls.
Race: White – 43%, Black – 22%, Hispanic – 22%, Others – 13%
- Parenting the Hurt Child (1 hr. podcast w/ the late Dr. Gregory Keck)
- Parenting a Child that has Been Sexually Abused (1 hr. podcast w/ Dr. Joshua Sparrow, Harvard Professor in Psychiatry)
- Helping Children Heal from Sexual Abuse (CreatingaFamilyEd.org online parenting course with Dr. Jennifer Shaw of the Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery)
- What do We Mean by “Special Needs” Adoption and Should You Consider this Option? (1 hr. podcast w/ experts)
Creating a Family has many resources for foster care adoption. A few of our most recent we think you will find particularly helpful are:
- Open Adoption and the Holidays (article)
- How Do You Manage Relationships with Birth Parents with Substance Use Disorders? (article)
- Practical Tips for Fostering a Sibling Group (article)
- Foster Care Adoption Subsidies (1 hr. podcast w/ expert)
- Coming to Terms with Infertility Grief Before You Adopt or Foster (1 hr. podcast w/ expert)
- Introduction to Prenatal Substance Exposure (1 hr. podcast w/ expert)
- Suggested Books for Kids Adopted from Foster Care and for Adults On Foster Care/Foster to Adopt
Many more Creating a Family podcasts, articles, and fact sheets on adopting from foster care can be found at the icons below.
Sources: various CreatingaFamily.org podcasts and CreatingaFamilyEd.org online courses as linked, and AFCARS Report 29, FY2021