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New attitudes toward adoption from foster care offer hope

A Summary from Blake & Associates Law Firm

By Sharon Van Epps

Even though there are more than 110,000 children in the U.S. foster care system who are eligible for adoption, more than 20,000 of these kids will never find an adoptive family. Youth exiting the foster care system without family support face a high risk of unemployment, homelessness, incarceration, and other negative life outcomes. However, the 2017 US Adoption Attitudes Survey offers a glimmer of new hope.

According to the survey, nearly 80 percent of individuals looking to adopt for the first time would consider adopting a child in foster care. This represents a seven percent increase since 2012. Rita Soronen, the chief executive of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the organization that commissioned the study, considers this a substantial shift in public attitudes.

Choosing to adopt through the foster care system means accepting that the process—and sometimes the outcome—can be uncertain. Bureaucratic procedures vary from state to state and even county to county. The practice of concurrent planning, however, which places children with potential adoptive families before the termination of parental rights, is standard. This approach, which is designed to reduce the length of time children spend in the system, investigates options for permanent reunification with the birth family while foster parents stand ready to adopt the child should parental rights be severed.

 

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