Foster Care Adoption Today

Foster Care Adoption Quick Facts:

• Foster care adoption is the adoption of a child from the U.S. foster care system who is legally available for adoption and whose birthparents' rights have been permanently terminated by the court.

• Children enter the public foster care system through no fault of their own, as a result of abuse (physical, sexually, emotional), neglect (physical, emotional, educational) or abandonment.

• Today there are an estimated 510,000 children in foster care in the United States, and more than129,000 of these children are legally and permanently separated from their birth family and waiting to be adopted.

• Of the 129,000 children waiting for adoption, 32 percent are Black Non-Hispanic, 38 percent are White Non-Hispanic, 20 percent are Hispanic, 2 percent are American Indian/Alaskan Native, 4 percent two or more Races Non-Hispanic and 3 percent unable to determine. 53% are male and 47% female.

• Although children waiting to be adopted from foster care range in age from birth to 18 years old, the average age of children waiting for an adoptive family is 8.

• Children live in foster care nearly four years prior to being freed for adoption and wait, on average, another 14 months to be adopted.

• Last year, 79,000 children in foster care were legally freed for adoption; 51,000 were adopted.

• Last year, 26,517 children turned age 18 and left the foster care system without an adoptive family.

• Of the families who adopted children from foster care last year, 69 percent were married couples, 26 percent were single females, 3 percent were single males, and 2 percent were unmarried couples.

Foster Care Adoption Myths/Misperceptions:

Myth: It is too expensive to adopt from foster care.

Reality: While private domestic infant adoption and international adoption may vary in costs from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, there is little or no cost to adopt from foster care.

Myth: The parents of the children adopted will resurface to claim their children.

Reality: Once parental rights have been terminated by the court, the parents have no further recourse for gaining custody of the children. The adoption is final.

Myth: The children in foster care are juvenile delinquents.

Reality: Children enter the foster care system through no fault of their own as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment, and deserve every effort to find them a permanent loving family.

Connecting Children with Permanent Homes:

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a non-profit 501(c)3 public charity dedicated to dramatically increasing the adoptions of the more than 129,000 children in America's foster care system waiting to be adopted. Created by Wendy's founder Dave Thomas who was adopted as a child, the Foundation spearheads programs such as:

• Wendy's Wonderful Kids, which puts adoption professionals in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada to find permanent, loving families for children in the foster care system;

• National Adoption Day, a national collaborative effort that, since 2000, has worked with courts, judges, attorneys, adoption professionals, child welfare agencies and advocates to highlight the Saturday before Thanksgiving and finalize the adoptions of thousands of children in foster care;

• "A Child is Waiting: A Step-By-Step Guide to Adoption", which gives critical information and resources to families pursuing adoption;

• Adoption-Friendly Workplace, which encourages employers to offer adoption benefits to their employees;

• Foster Care Adoption Awareness Posters, Public Service Announcements, National Adoption Month Toolkits and Training Videos, all offered free of charge to the public, media and adoption professionals.

The Foundation also works with adoption advocates and officials to streamline the adoption process and make adoption more affordable for families. As the only foundation dedicated exclusively to foster care adoption, it is driven by Dave Thomas' simple value: Do what's best for the child.

To learn more about the Foundation's work, please visit, please visit or call 1-800-ASK-DTFA (800-275-3832).


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