Today, more than 400,000 children are in the U.S. foster care system,
with 100,000 eligible for adoption.
As a society, we’ve promised these 400,000 children in foster care that we would find them safe, supportive homes.
Here’s what happens when we don’t fulfill this promise. Approximately 26,000 children age out of the system annually.
This means they turn 18 (or 21 in some states), aren’t adopted and leave the foster system with no family support system.
According to research from the Annie E. Casey Foundation,
within two years of aging out of the system:
One out of four former foster children
is involved with the justice system.
Two out of four former foster
children are homeless.
Furthermore, on average:
is spent each year maintaining
a child in foster care.
is spent in social services over
a lifetime for each child who
ages out of foster care.
Thankfully, some children have only a temporary stay in the foster system and are eventually able to be reunified with their birth parents. However, many others can never return to their birth families through no fault of their own. These children desperately need the love and sense of belonging that can only truly come through adoption.
Ultimately, we imagine a future in which every American foster child – whether through reunification or adoption – belongs in a loving, safe, and permanent home.