The 20,000th foster child has been adopted after being listed on AdoptUSKids.org, a national website that links prospective adoptive families with children in need of permanent families. The website is funded through a cooperative agreement between HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Adoption Exchange Association.
The website contains photos and demographic information on children in the public foster care system. When a prospective adoptive parent indicates interest in a specific child, AdoptUSKids coordinates a connection with the child’s adoption case worker. There is no charge to the families or case workers for this service.
“This administration is dedicated to developing private sector partnerships and using technology in new ways to help children and families,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. “We will continue to find new avenues for matching foster children with loving families. 20,000 children is a wonderful accomplishment, but of course many more children still need our help.”
Out of the 20,000 children adopted after being listed on their website, nearly 75 percent were eight years old or older. Additionally, 61 percent of the children adopted were of a racial minority, 33 percent were teenagers and almost half had at least one moderate or severe disability. Analysis of national child welfare data has previously indicated that children in these categories are significantly less likely to be adopted through traditional means. However, when they see the child’s picture online, potential parents are able to see past the category of child and become interested in the individual.
“The impact has been outstanding,” said HHS Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families George Sheldon. “By partnering with the Adoption Exchange Association, we’ve been able to provide an opportunity for 20,000 children who may have otherwise been overlooked by prospective parents.”
“Hundreds of thousands of youth are in foster care—boys and girls who too often go without the love, protection and stability of a permanent family,” said Administration on Children, Youth and Families Commissioner Bryan Samuels. “Thanks to efforts led by states and professionals on the ground, the number of young people in foster care is falling and fewer children are waiting for adoption. But even now, more than 100,000 kids are looking for permanency with caring parents.”
In addition to the website, the AdoptUSKids campaign helps recruit and retain adoptive families through national public awareness outreach campaigns with the Ad Council and ACF through radio, print and television public service ads, such as this year’s popular “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent” PSA. AdoptUSKids also provides technical assistance to states, tribes and courts, and maintains a toll-free information and referral line for families and child welfare professionals at 888-200-4005.