EASTON, Md., November 7, 2011 — November is National Adoption Month. Americans are urged to pay attention to a growing crisis: the increasing number of children in need of loving homes. This year’s focus is on children living in foster care who need permanent homes, especially those in the hard-to-place age range of eight to twelve years old.
Foster care is intended to provide a temporary safe haven for abused or neglected children; it is not meant to be a permanent living arrangement. For many children, however, that is precisely what the foster care system has become. An increasing number of children are now growing up in multiple foster homes or group homes.
The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System (AFCARS) has compiled statistics from state welfare agencies responsible for children in foster care. Below are some alarming and eye-opening findings (most recent data available is 2009) that everyone who cares about children in America should be aware of:
- An estimated 423,773 children in foster care in the United States. Twenty-four percent live with relatives while 48-percent are in the homes of non-relatives.
- Forty-nine-percent harbor a goal of reunification with their families, and 51-percent of the children who left the system did reunite with their families or primary caregivers.
- The median amount of time that children spent in the foster care system increased to 13.7 months in 2009 from 12 months in 2000. In 2009 there were more children in care for one to two years.
- In 2009, the median age of children in foster care was 9.7 years; the median age of those entering the system was 7.1 years.
- The largest group of foster care children identified themselves as white or non-Hispanic, while 30-percent are African American, and twenty-percent was Hispanic. From 2000 to 2009, the percentage of white and Hispanic children both increased, while the percentage that was African American decreased.
For more information on how to spread awareness of the issues surrounding foster care in America, connect with the Child Welfare Information Gateway, a valuable portal for resources at the U.S. Department of health and Human Services.
Andrea is an adoptive mother and a journalist. She is at work on a book, “The Red Thread,” a collection of stories told by families united through adoption. She is also owner of Media Branding International, a public relations/media consulting firm. She is the editor of Food & Travel in The Communities at The Washington Times.
Follow Andrea at Twitter @ANDPOE. Andrea can also be found on Facebook and LinkedIn.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.