By Chase Jack adopted on 2/29/11
National Adoption Day is an effort to focus attention on the more than 125,000 children waiting to be adopted from foster care in the U.S. More than 117,000 children are currently awaiting forever families in the U.S. foster care system. In addition, over 20,000 children (about the seating capacity of Madison Square Garden) age out of the foster care system annually, without a family or permanent home.
Lenape teacher, Ms. Smith, works with an organization called Foster Care Blessings and she said that 15,000 kids enter in foster care every year in Pennsylvania. In addition, Ms. Smith said adoptions cost a lot and more people would become adopted parents, but they just cannot afford it. She knows families who have taking in kids as foster and adopted them after a while. In 2013, there were more than 8,000 youths 13 and older who lived in the foster care system in PA (FosterCareBlessings).
Sadly, on average, 1,100 PA youth “age out” of foster care or leave the system at 18 or older. Far too many youths never end up with a stable, permanent family situation. Often, they are left on their own; with few or no financial resources, limited education, training, and employment; homeless, and with little or no support from family, friends.
One in four PA youth who “age out” of the system, experience homelessness, struggle with mental health challenges such as depression, substance abuse and anxiety disorders, with 1 in 4 youth having been arrested since leaving care. Half of PA foster care youth have not found a job four years after leaving the system and struggle to pay bills. Half who “age out” will not complete high school and are twice as likely to drop out as other students.
The National Center for Youth Law estimates that well over half of children in foster care nationwide have one or more siblings also in care. Some sources state that as many as 75 percent of these foster children are placed apart from one or more of their siblings.
Although a lot of kids don’t have a home about 135,000 children are adopted in the United States each year, which is promising. There is a great need for adoption and foster care, so on this day in November think about how or if you can help someone with their future family.