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In 2013, there were more than 402,000 children in foster care. Just over 50,000 children were adopted, but another 101,000 children and youth were waiting to be adopted. More than two-thirds of these children entered foster care at the age of ten or younger.
Particular emphasis has been placed on increasing the adoptions of older youth and children with special needs, who are among the most difficult to place in adoptive families. They are also at a very high risk for living in poverty and becoming homeless upon leaving foster care if they aren’t placed with families. Black children and youth face particular challenges. Black children are overrepresented in foster care and they enter care at greater rates, stay in foster care longer, and are less likely to be reunited with their family.
The Children’s Defense Fund is working to ensure implementation of legislation that takes steps to help children and youth find adoptive families. The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act enhances incentives that will promote the adoption of children from foster care, including increased federal support for adoption assistance for children with special needs and expand incentives to promote the adoptions of older children and those with special needs.