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Foster care adoption: facts and figures PDF Print E-mail

Every year, more than 107,000 children in foster care are available for adoption. Many spend more than five years waiting for permanent, loving homes. Between 2000 and 2010, more than 35,000 children were joined together with their forever families as part of National Adoption Day activities.
Who are these waiting children?
• There are an estimated 408,425 children in foster care in the United States, and more than 107,000 of them are waiting to be adopted.
• Through no fault of their own, these children enter foster care as a result of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment.
• The average child waits for an adoptive family for more than three years.
• 11 percent spend 5 years or more waiting for a family (43,083 children).
• The average age of children waiting for an adoptive family is 8.
What happens to them?
• 52,891 children are adopted from foster care.
• Nearly 28,000 children reach the age of 18 without ever finding a forever family.
Who adopts from foster care?
• Children in foster care are adopted by three types of families: former foster parents (53 percent), relatives (32 percent) and non-relatives (15 percent).
• Of the families who adopt children from foster care, 67 percent are married couples, 28 percent are single females, 3 percent are single males, and 2 percent are unmarried couples.
• A national survey in 2007 revealed that 48 million Americans have considered adoption from foster care–more so than any other form of adoption, including private adoption of an infant or international adoption. (National Foster Care Adoption Attitudes Survey, November 2007. Commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and conducted by Harris Interactive.)
To find out more about adopting a child in the United States, please visit or call 1-800-ASK-DTFA.
(Unless otherwise indicated, statistics are provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families Administration on Children AFCARS Report; Preliminary FY 2010 Estimates as of June 2011.)