Foster Care Adoption: Facts & Figures

Every year, more than 107,000 children in foster care are available for adoption. Many spend more than five years waiting for permanent, loving homes.

Who are these waiting children?

  • There are an estimated 510,000 children in foster care in the United States, and more than 129,000 of them are waiting to be adopted.

  • Through no fault of their own, these children enter foster care as a result of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment.

  • The average child waits for an adoptive family for more than two years.

  • 19 percent spend 5 years or more waiting for a family (24,300 children). The average age of children waiting for an adoptive family is 8.
What happens to them?
  • 51,000 children are adopted from foster care.
  • More than 26,000 children reach the age of 18 without ever finding a forever family.
Who adopts from foster care?
  • Children in foster care are adopted by three types of families:
    - former foster parents (59 percent)
    - relatives (26 percent)
    - non-relatives (15 percent)
  • Of the families who adopt children from foster care, 69 percent are married couples, 26 percent are single females, 3 percent are single males, and 2 percent are unmarried couples.
  • A national survey in 2007 revealed that 48 million Americans have considered adoption from foster care – more so than any other form of adoption, including private adoption of an infant or international adoption. (National Foster Care Adoption Attitudes Survey, November 2007. Commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and conducted by Harris Interactive.)
(Unless otherwise indicated, statistics are provided by the U.S. Department of Health and HumanServices, Administration for Children and Families Administration on Children; Interim Estimates for FY2006.)

Learn more about adopting from foster care.

AdoptUSKids has some helpful fact sheets about adopting children from foster care.