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Adoption rate increases for children in foster care

New data on adoption and foster care suggests that while the number of children in foster care remains steady, the adoption rate continues to climb.  According to statistics released by HHS’ Administration for Children and Families, approximately 13.1 percent of the children in foster care were adopted last year, an increase from 12.6 percent the previous year and 9.5 percent in 2003.  

There were 399,546 children in foster care last year.  This was less than a one-half percent increase to the previous year’s total of approximately 398,000 after a nearly 25 percent decrease since 2002, when there were approximately 524,000 children in foster care.

“The data suggests states are striking a balance between improving the quality of child welfare services and moving children to permanent families,” said Administration on Children, Youth and Families Commissioner Bryan Samuels.  “Our role will be to continue to help states find that right balance with limited resources moving forward.”

Adoption is not the goal for every child in foster care. The majority of children who leave foster care are reunited with their parents or other relatives.

The full report is available at

A breakdown of trends since 2002 is available at

To learn more about ACF’s adoption and foster care programs, please visit

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