Adoption and Foster Care

Foster care is a temporary home provided by the state for children who should not or can not live with their families. Living in foster care could include living with relatives or unrelated foster parents. Children could also be placed in group homes, residential care facilities or emergency shelters (Child Welfare Information Gateway).

Children under the age of 18 are put in foster care when a child protective services worker and a court determine that it is unsafe for the child to remain at home. There are numerous cases for a child's situation to be considered unsafe, such as neglect, physical and/or sexual abuse (Child Trends Data Bank).

Children are placed in foster care based on their family situation and through no fault of their own. The families where foster children come from could be struggling with problems like poverty, substance abuse, incarceration, mental illness and/or homelessness (Treehouse: Giving Foster Kids a Child and a Future).

Homelessness Graph

On September 30, 2002, there were 523,616 children in foster care in the United States. That number dropped to 399,546 in 2012, a 23.7% decrease in 10 years (Administration for Children and Families). In 2013, that number was at almost 402,000 (Administration for Children and Families).

All children in foster care have experienced loss in some way. Children can have the best placement in the foster care system and still experience negative repercussions because of separation or, at the very least, loss of familiar surroundings and disruption of daily routines (Fostering Perspectives).

A multitude of federal programs and nonprofit services can be credited for this decrease of children in foster care and/or the development of these children. Their impact on a child can be estimated by evaluating the child before and after the program and their ultimate placement in permanent homes or return to their families. If these children went through the foster care system without doing a program, they may never have the opportunity to better themselves as a person (Child Trends).

This is a reason why supporting foster children, and organizations whose mission is to help foster children, is crucial. There were more than 23,000 children who exited the foster care system by aging out. Other than the foster care system these children were in, they had no support system. Imagine being up to 18 years old and in this situation (Children's Rights).

Foster Care Graph

How YOU Can Help:

  • Volunteer – CASA has a need for volunteers to advocate for children in court as a result of abuse or neglect. You can also help at fundraising events and ask about miscellaneous projects.
  • Donate – supplies for new facilities, goods for events and auctions, money for an organization to directly use on their needs.
  • Become a foster parent – If you have a passion for helping children, fostering a child could be an option to consider. Learn more at http://nfpaonline.org/foster.

Click the “View Related Organizations” link on the left side to see specific ways to help organizations.

Written by Katie Feusse, April 24, 2015