The Share of Kids Adopted Out of Foster Care Continues to Grow

Posted November 1, 2019
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Updates morekidscontinuetobeadopted 2019

The share of chil­dren in fos­ter care who are adopt­ed con­tin­ues to grow, accord­ing to the lat­est analy­sis of adop­tion and fos­ter care data con­duct­ed by Child Trends for the KIDS COUNT Data Center.

Twen­ty-four per­cent of chil­dren exit­ing fos­ter care did so through adop­tion in 2017, the most recent year of data avail­able from the Adop­tion and Fos­ter Care Analy­sis and Report­ing Sys­tem. This marked the fourth straight year that the share of chil­dren in fos­ter care who were adopt­ed increased.

His­tor­i­cal­ly, the most com­mon out­come for chil­dren leav­ing child wel­fare sys­tems involves reunit­ing with their par­ents. Although the rate of chil­dren being reunit­ed with par­ents remains high — 49% in 2017 — there has been a slight but con­sis­tent drop since 2015. This is a trend that should be monitored.

A decrease in the per­cent­age of chil­dren aging out” of the sys­tem and an increase in the per­cent­age of adults tak­ing guardian­ship of chil­dren in fos­ter care indi­cate that agen­cies more often found fam­i­lies for fos­ter kids.

In fact, the per­cent­age of chil­dren leav­ing fos­ter care due to adop­tion rose in 30 states between 2016 and 2017. Ida­ho, Illi­nois, South Dako­ta, Ver­mont and Vir­ginia saw large increas­es in the per­cent­age of fos­ter kids who were adopt­ed. Four­teen states saw a decrease, as did Puer­to Rico.

The Child Trends analy­sis does not account for cas­es in which a young per­son left fos­ter care for unknown reasons.

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