Domestic Adoption, Parenting, Special Needs Adoption

Foster Care Adoption

Foster care adoption involves the adoption of children who are living in the U.S. foster care system. According to a poll done by CASA:

  • 83% of adults knew very little about the experience of children in care.
  • 31% knew someone who was or had been in foster care.
  • 45% reported negative impressions of foster care, and 11 percent reported positive impressions (the remainder were neutral or did not have enough information to decide).
  • 11% thought that children were in foster care because of something the children did, although the majority strongly disagreed and tended to blame the biological parents.
  • 87% agreed that improving the foster care system should be a national priority.

In general, Private adoption agencies place newborns and their fees are higher since they are privately run, and do not receive tax dollars from the State to support their services. Public agencies place children that are in foster care available for adoption. Their fees are much lower than private agencies because they are funded by the State.

While most children who are adopted from foster care are adopted by their foster parents and other children are adopted by their relatives, nationwide there are still many thousands of children in the U.S. foster care system waiting for permanent families

Public agencies mostly place children with special needs* (in general the definition of special needs includes children whose emotional or physical challenges, age, race, membership in a sibling group, a history of abuse, or other factors contribute to a lengthy stay in foster care.) Up-front fees and expenses range form zero to $2,500, including travel and attorney’s fees. Most states, under a Federal matching program, will reimburse non-recurring adoption expenses up to a set limit (which cannot exceed $2,000). Federal and State adoption subsidies may be available for the ongoing care of children with special physical, mental, or emotional needs. The adoption subsidy agreement must be negotiated and signed before the child’s adoption is finalized. However, there is a process where adoption subsidy can be applied for or renegotiated after finalization, but only under certain conditions.

Foster Care Statistics:

  • Currently, there are approximately 520,000 children in foster care in the United States. It’s estimated that 117,000 are eligible for adoption.
  • In 2005, about 51,000 children were adopted from foster care.
  • 68% of parents who adopt from foster care are married couples, 27% are single females, 2% are unmarried couples, and 3% are single males.
  • Average age of a waiting foster child is between 6 -10.
  • Approximately 50,000 waiting children have special needs*
  • Race/ethnicity of children in foster care: 41% Caucasian, 32% African-American, 18% Hispanic, and 1% Asian; 8% other.
  • Each year, about 20,000 children age out of foster care.

A Child is Waiting: A Step-By-Step Guide to Adoption

A Child is Waiting: A Step-By-Step Guide to Adoption answers general questions about adoption and the foster care adoption process.  Published by the Dave Thomas Foundation this guide explains how to begin the adoption process and walks you through the steps. You will discover a variety of additional resources, a glossary of adoption terms, adoption agency referrals and stories of adoptive parents and children. The Step-By-Step Guide to Post-Adoption is automatically included when ordering one to five copies.

1 thought on “Foster Care Adoption”

  1. We had to go into being foster parents knowing that the child may not be ours to keep. We had 14 foster children and were able to adopt 3. I don’t regret a single day of it, knowing that we positively affected the lives of the 11 we didn’t get to “keep”. We adopted at the ages of 3, 4 and 7 and have loved (most every) minute of it!
    Lindsey Petersen

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