Foster Care Adoption

Adopting from Foster CareApproximately 50,000 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. There are also about 400,000 in foster care in need of foster parents while a decision is made whether they will be able to be returned to their biological families or whether they will be adopted.

+ The Two Types of Foster Care Adoption
There are two general ways to adopt from foster care.

  1. Direct Foster Care Adoption: There are about 100,000 children whose parental rights have already been terminated and whose caseworkers are currently seeking adoptive families for them. The average age of children waiting to be adopted is about 7, but approximately 40% are under six, and many of these younger kids are part of a sibling group.
  2. Foster to Adopt: The US has approximately 400,000 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, and foster families are expected to work with social workers on reunification. Children are able to return to their families half the time. When family reunification is not possible, 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.

+ How To Adopt from Foster Care
A home study and completing an adoption education course are required to adopt from foster care. You can work either with the state foster care unit (named differently in each state – Department of Family and Protective Services, Department of Social Services, Department of Children and Family Services, etc.) or a private adoption agency with a contract with the state to place foster children. The education will be the same (30-35 hours), but most people in the Creating a Family community report better pre and post-adoption services when working with a private adoption agency. You may have to pay more, but the money can be recouped with the federal Adoption Tax Credit.

This one-hour radio interview is a great introduction to how to adopt from foster care: Foster Care Adoption

+ What Are the Ages, Gender, and Race of Children in Foster Care?
Age:  The average age of children adopted from foster care is about 5, with about 49% under the age of 5. The average age of children legally free and waiting to be adopted is about 7, with about 40% under the age of 6, often as part of a sibling group.

Gender:  There are about an even number of boys and girls in foster care

Race:  White-42%, Black-26%, Hispanic- 21%, Other-11%

+ How Much Does Foster Care Adoption Cost?
Foster care adoption costs very little or nothing. Any money spent on adopting from foster care can usually be offset with the federal Adoption Tax Credit. Over 90% of children adopted from foster care receive a monthly cash subsidy and Medicaid benefits. Check out these resources:

+ Can You Adopt a Child in Foster Care in Another State?
Yes, adopting a child in foster care from out of state is usually possible with children who are legally free and waiting for an adoptive family. Usually, easier to place children (younger and with fewer special needs) are placed within their home state. Fostering a child with the hopes of adoption (adopting through a foster to adopt program) is usually not an option with children living in another state unless the child is a relative. We talked about adopting a child from foster care in another state on this Creating a Family radio show on Adopting from Foster Care.

+ Are Children Adopted from Foster Care Troubled?
Children end up in foster care through no fault of their own due to mistakes made by their biological parents. Most have experienced abuse and neglect, which can have a lasting impact, but they are not damaged beyond help. Pre-adoptive parents will receive extensive education to help them parent children who come from hard places. Creating a Family also provides extensive resources on helping children heal and on adopting older kids. Here are just a few:

Creating a Family has many resources for foster care adoption. A few of our most recent we think you will find particularly helpful are:

Many more Creating a Family radio interviews with experts, videos, blogs, fact sheets, and Q and A’s with Experts on adopting from foster care can be found at the icons below.

Sources: Creating a Family radio shows below, AFCARS Report

Additional Resources

link image
Creating a Family Radio Shows on Foster Care Adoption

link image
Creating a Family Blogs on Foster Care Adoption

link image
Creating a Family Factsheets, Tips on Foster Care Adoption

link image
Creating a Family Videos on Foster Care Adoption

link image
Q and A's with Experts on Foster Care Adoption

Back to Top ↑

Content created by Creating a Family. And remember, there are no guarantees in adoption or infertility treatment. The information provided or referenced on this website should be used only as part of an overall plan to help educate you about the joys and challenges of adopting a child or dealing with infertility. Although the following seems obvious, our attorney insists that we tell you specifically that the information provided on this site may not be appropriate or applicable to you, and despite our best efforts, it may contain errors or important omissions. You should rely only upon the professionals you employ to assist you directly with your individual circumstances. CREATING A FAMILY DOES NOT WARRANT THE INFORMATION OR MATERIALS contained or referenced on this website. CREATING A FAMILY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS LIABILITY FOR ERRORS or omissions in this information and materials and PROVIDES NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, implied, express or statutory. IN NO EVENT WILL CREATING A FAMILY BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, including without limitation direct or indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising out of or in connection with the use of the information or materials, EVEN IF CREATING A FAMILY OR ITS AGENTS ARE NEGLIGENT AND/OR ARE ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.