Did you know that May is National Foster Care Month? Started in 1988, National Foster Care Month aims to recognise the efforts of foster parents across our nation and put focus on the needs of foster children, especially those about to age out of the system.
With approximately 12 million foster care alumni and 424,000 children currently in foster care waiting for families, it is hard to ignore the impact of child abuse and neglect. Of the children in foster care, 59% return home to their biological families. Another 16% are adopted; the others are emancipated, living with relatives, etc. There has been a dramatic increase since 1997 when the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) passed into law. This law requires counties to have permanency plans in place within a year of a child coming into the system, and termination of parental rights for children who have been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months.
Foster care Factoids:
· According to the AFCARS report about 70% of the kids in foster care of the children waiting to be adopted had been in continuous foster care for two years or more; twenty-five percent for five years or more .
· The Child Welfare League of America reports, “Approximately 60 percent of all children in out-of-home care have moderate to severe mental health problems  Adolescents living with foster parents or in group homes have about four times the rate of serious psychiatric disorders than those living with their own families.”
· A 2000 Department of Health and Human Services report found that foster children are more likely than other groups of Medicaid children to use mental health services.
· A 2001 study found that foster care children were more likely to have a mental health or substance abuse condition than other children receiving Medicaid.
I know that the statistics may seem bleak. Our two foster to adopt situations were nerve wracking to say
the least. Our oldest of those two was abandon at the hospital and our son came to us from an adoption
agencies failure to appear to accept him into their custody. In both cases our adoptions were considered high risk placements.
If you feel becoming a foster parent, or adopting a foster child is the right path for you, check this sheet for your state’s contact information.
Good luck on your journey!
 AFCARS REPORT 6, at 7, 3, 4.
 Child Welfare League of America, FACTSHEET: THE HEALTH OF CHILDREN IN OUT-OF-HOME CARE, available at http://www.cwla.org/programs/health/healthcarecwfact.htm
 Child Welfare League of America, FACTSHEET: THE HEALTH OF CHILDREN IN OUT-OF-HOME CARE, (available at http://www.cwla.org/programs/health/healthcarecwfact.htm )
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, HEALTH CONDITIONS, UTILIZATION AND EXPENDITURES OF CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE, at 50, Table III.10 (Sept. 2000).
Written by Rainbow Mom, a long time member of our adoption forum.biological families, child abuse and neglect, child welfare league, children in foster care, foster care children, foster parent, foster parents, national foster care month, termination of parental rights