This Adoption Month, Learn How to Help Children in Foster Care

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National Adoption Month reminds us there are still has too many children who need the permanency of a stable and loving family. The U.S. has more than 424,000 children in foster care. More than 122,000 of these children are adoptable and waiting for their forever family.

But it’s not just the numbers of children in care that’s concerning. Too many remain in care for far too long. More than 50% have been in foster care for more than a year. The kids who are left behind are typically those who need love the most: children age nine and older, siblings that want to stay together, and kids with intellectual or physical disabilities.

Sadly, around 20,000 young people age out of foster care every year without any legal connection to a family. The long-term effects are troubling: Four in 10 will experience homelessness, 71% of the young women will be pregnant by age 21, and more than 25% will end up incarcerated.

In June, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that offers renewed hope to these children. The executive order makes practical, long-term changes to increase local transparency, bring more resources to parents, and hold states more accountable to the requirements of the law.

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The executive order will make policy changes that could increase the number of children who find their forever homes, but there is still much that ordinary citizens can do to support children in the care and their biological, foster, and adoptive parents.

The job of helping children find their forever homes is too big to be handled by government alone. State and local child welfare agencies do heroic work, but they are typically overwhelmed: Three in 10 of the nation’s caseworkers cycle out every year. These government agencies must rely on their local community to serve the children and families who come into contact with the child welfare agency.


One of the best sources of local support are “bridge organizations”—groups that organize local faith-based organizations, such as churches and non-profits, to create long-term relationships between caseworkers and local communities. These bridge organizations can help biological families before they reach the point where a child has to be removed, help foster parents with their needs and provide long-term support to new adoptive families.

Bridge organizations, including those in your area, can make a difference because of ordinary citizens who give of their time and means to make a difference in the lives of children in foster care.

Here are some practical ways to get involved:

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  1. Donate Funds or Supplies. Foster and adoptive families aren’t always equipped for the varied needs of the children who enter their home at a moment’s notice. Local child welfare agencies or bridge organizations often need cribs, clothes, or school supplies. Getting involved can even be as simple as coordinating a meal sign-up calendar for new foster parents.
  1. Donate Funds or Supplies. Foster and adoptive families aren’t always equipped for the varied needs of the children who enter their home at a moment’s notice. Local child welfare agencies or bridge organizations often need cribs, clothes, or school supplies. Getting involved can even be as simple as coordinating a meal sign-up calendar for new foster parents.
  1. Donate Funds or Supplies. Foster and adoptive families aren’t always equipped for the varied needs of the children who enter their home at a moment’s notice. Local child welfare agencies or bridge organizations often need cribs, clothes, or school supplies. Getting involved can even be as simple as coordinating a meal sign-up calendar for new foster parents.
  1. Donate Funds or Supplies. Foster and adoptive families aren’t always equipped for the varied needs of the children who enter their home at a moment’s notice. Local child welfare agencies or bridge organizations often need cribs, clothes, or school supplies. Getting involved can even be as simple as coordinating a meal sign-up calendar for new foster parents.
  1. Donate Funds or Supplies. Foster and adoptive families aren’t always equipped for the varied needs of the children who enter their home at a moment’s notice. Local child welfare agencies or bridge organizations often need cribs, clothes, or school supplies. Getting involved can even be as simple as coordinating a meal sign-up calendar for new foster parents.
  1. Donate Funds or Supplies. Foster and adoptive families aren’t always equipped for the varied needs of the children who enter their home at a moment’s notice. Local child welfare agencies or bridge organizations often need cribs, clothes, or school supplies. Getting involved can even be as simple as coordinating a meal sign-up calendar for new foster parents.

Not all of us may be called to foster or adopt, but everyone can do something to lessen the instability of foster care and bring the hundreds of thousands of children in care to their forever homes.

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