Samantha Tynes, Child Welfare Information Gateway
November is National Adoption Month, a time when the nation celebrates the thousands of families who have come together through adoption.
This year we’re highlighting older youth in foster care. These kids often wait the longest for a permanent home, and sometimes face the most significant barriers to adoption.
Adoption would be welcome for many children and youth in out-of-home care, but some older youth may be reluctant to be adopted. They may be afraid of severing ties with their birth parents, or that a new family may reject them. They also may be eager for independence, and not fully understand how important it is to have a family as a young adult.
Older youth have a valuable perspective and should be included in the process of planning for their future. But it can be difficult to begin the conversation about adoption.
There are resources to help child welfare professionals have more meaningful conversations with youth.
- Talking with Older Youth About Adoption (PDF) Visit disclaimer page — National Adoption Month — A guide to talking to older youth about adoption.
- Resources for Families and Youth About Permanency Visit disclaimer page — Child Welfare Information Gateway — resources to help youth and their parents (birth, foster, kinship, adoptive, and guardianship) better understand their roles in the permanency process.
- Enhancing Permanency for Youth in Out-of-Home Care Visit disclaimer page — Child Welfare Information Gateway — successful strategies and models for improving youth permanency and the specific challenges of permanency planning with youth
- Winter 2013 issue of Represent: The Voice of Youth in Care Visit disclaimer page — How youth in foster care decide whom they consider to be family members and their different interpretations of what "family" means to them.
- It's Your Life (PDF) Visit disclaimer page packet — Youth Advisory Board — Written by youth about their rights in foster care, how decisions are made about where youth will live during and after foster care, and how youth can communicate effectively with their lawyers and caseworkers.
Visit the National Adoption Month website Visit disclaimer page and find opportunities to get involved this month — and throughout the year — to promote and support permanent families for older youth in foster care.