2020 National Adoption Month
Children's Bureau Message
By Jerry Milner, associate commissioner at the Children’s Bureau
This year, the Children's Bureau's National Adoption Month initiative—including its National Adoption Recruitment Campaign—focuses on the thousands of teenagers and young adults in foster care who still need a loving, permanent family and a place to call home. The data shows that our efforts are making a difference. The number of children and youth in foster care significantly decreased to 423,997 in September 2019. We also saw a decrease in the number of children waiting to be adopted. On September 30, 2019, the number of children and youth waiting for adoption or other permanent homes was over 122,000. Of those children, 13,974 (11 percent) were between the ages of 15 and 17. Even with these positive trends, our work continues. Securing permanent connections for these young people remains critically important and deserves our unwavering commitment. Nurturing parental relationships, within both birth and adoptive families, is essential for healthy physical and emotional development.
For youth in foster care, adoption means that they belong and can feel connected to a family who will support them no matter what. This year's National Adoption Month campaign focuses on finding adoptive families for older youth and highlights the importance of engaging young people in both routine and systems-change processes. Youth have ideas about what they want and need for their life and likely have questions and concerns they must discuss in order to move forward with permanency planning. As you pursue permanency for older youth, it’s vital that each young person is able to inform the process and make decisions about their life. I encourage you to explore the resources and tools on the National Adoption Month website and consider ways you and your agency can create a culture in which youth partner with professionals not only in permanency planning but also in educating prospective adoptive families and community members and informing child welfare practices and policies.
I hope you will join us in celebrating National Adoption Month this November and consider ways you can engage, listen, and learn from young people.