Teens Need Families, No Matter What


five smiling teenagersJerry Milner, Associate Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families

For teens in foster care, the stakes get higher every year. Youth between 15 and 18 are often overlooked in foster care adoptions, so with each passing birthday, these young people are more likely to age out of care without finding a family. And without the encouragement, guidance, and support of family bonds, they are less likely to pursue education or career goals, and begin their adult life on firm footing.

For the past two years, National Adoption Month has highlighted the need to find permanent families for this vulnerable age group. This year's theme — Teens Need Families, No Matter What — goes a step further by emphasizing the importance of making youth adoptions successful.

Just as youth need support and encouragement as they mature and assume adult responsibilities, so do families who adopt from foster care. This year’s National Adoption Month website offers tips for Recruiting and Responding to Families for Teens and how to develop and support them every step of the way.

You can also find:

  • Information for families about adolescent brain development, the effects of trauma and loss on emotions and behaviors, and ways to nurture healthy development
  • Tips for child welfare professionals to involve and engage youth to play a pivotal role in identifying the best permanency option for them
  • Inspiring videos and podcasts that capture the real-life stories of adoptive families and the youth they have welcomed into their homes
  • Resources for current and prospective adoptive families and teens in foster care, including how to prepare to adopt, finding support when you need it, and suggestions for youth on how to get involved and find support from others their age.

This National Adoption Month, we celebrate the thousands of families who have formed lifelong bonds through the gift of adoption, and ask you to help spread the word as we renew our commitment to encourage and support these ties every step of the way.

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