Today we celebrate a major milestone with the announcement that 20,000 children from U.S. foster care previously photolisted on the AdoptUSKids website are now living with adoptive families. AdoptUSKids is a project of the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, operated by the Adoption Exchange Association. It launched in 2002 to support States in their efforts to recruit adoptive families for children in foster care, particularly the most challenging to place – older children, those who are part of a sibling group, and children of color – and to facilitate placement of children across county and state jurisdictional boundaries.
More than 250,000 children enter the U.S. foster care system every year. More than half of these children will return to their parents; the remainder will need an alternate permanent placement. Of the children who are adopted out of foster care each year, 85 percent are adopted by their relatives or non-related foster parents. By design, the AdoptUSKids national photolisting website provides States with more opportunities to connect waiting children with an adoptive family.
We are pleased the AdoptUSKids website has proven to be a success and is an effective tool for States to connect children who might otherwise not be adopted with families. An important and promising indicator of that success is that nearly 75 percent of the 20,000 children placed were 8 years of age or older. An analysis of national child welfare data has previously indicated that children are significantly less likely to be adopted beyond age 8.
Additionally, 61 percent of the children adopted were of a racial minority, and almost half had at least one moderate or severe disability. Through the AdoptUSKids project, we’ve been able to provide an opportunity for permanency for 20,000 children from all 50 States and the District of Columbia who may have otherwise been overlooked by prospective parents. You can see more data about these children in the infographic AdoptUSKids Celebrates 20,000 Children Placed With Adoptive Families.
Today there are approximately 104,000 children in U.S. foster care available for adoption. Fortunately, the vast majority of these children will be adopted by their relatives orcurrent foster parents, or they will have promising prospects for being adopted by other families in their own communities. Of the children currently waiting to be adopted, 4,500 are photolisted on AdoptUSKids. These children don’t have the same prospects as the majority of waiting children in foster care and will benefit from the additional prospective family resources this national photolisting service provides. Meet the children
In addition to the website, AdoptUSKids helps raise public awareness about the need for foster and adoptive families through national multimedia public awareness outreach campaigns. The current campaign, with the theme “You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Be a Perfect Parent,” was done in partnership with the Ad Council and Children’s Bureau. AdoptUSKids also provides technical assistance to States, Tribes, and Courts through the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids and maintains a toll-free information and referral line for families and child welfare professionals at 888-200-4005.
Bryan Samuels is the Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF). Samuels has spent his career formulating service delivery innovations and streamlining operations in large government organizations on behalf of children, youth, and families.