By Cathy Payne, USA Today
The percentage of kids adopted from foster care is swinging upward, a new report suggests.
Last year, 13.1% of children in foster care were adopted, an increase from 12.6% in 2011, according to statistics released today by the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families. The report highlights data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System.
Of the 1.8 million adopted children in the USA, 37% came from foster care, according to the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents. Private domestic adoptions accounted for 38%, and international adoptions were at 25%. These numbers don't include step-parent adoptions.
The number of kids in foster care grew slightly from 397,866 in 2011 to 399,546 in 2012. Last year, boys (52%) outnumbered girls, and the median age was 8½ years old.
"The data suggests states are striking a balance between improving the quality of child welfare services and moving children to permanent families," the agency's Bryan Samuels says in a statement. "Our role will be to continue to help states find that right balance with limited resources moving forward."
The report reflects good news for kids and families, says Adam Pertman, executive director of the Donaldson Adoption Institute, a non-profit group based in New York. But, he adds, "we're nowhere near done."
Older children in foster care and families who adopted kids need more help, Pertman says. "We have to support the families as well as placing the kids."
Adoption is not the goal for all children in foster care, the agency says. Many kids are reunited with their parents or other relatives.
The number of foster-care kids waiting to be adopted dropped from 106,345 on Sept. 30, 2011, to 101,719 on Sept. 30, 2012. Also, the number of foster-care kids waiting to be adopted whose parents' rights were terminated fell from 62,759 in 2011 to 58,587 in 2012.