2019 National Adoption Month
Children's Bureau Message
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 number of children and youth in foster care continues to rise, reaching nearly 442,995 in September 2017. We also see an increase in the number of children waiting to be adopted. On September 30, 2017, the number of children and youth waiting for adoption was over 123,000. Of those children, 13,451 (11 percent) were between the ages of 15 and 17. Securing permanent connections for these young people—along with ensuring they have a broad safety net of supportive adults in their life—remains critically important and deserves our unwavering commitment.
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 empowering the voice of young people in conversations about permanency, planning for their future, and the value of relationships. 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. As you pursue permanency for older youth, provide young people an opportunity to consider their permanency options and offer input about their case plan. I encourage you to explore the resources and tools on the National Adoption Month website and consider ways you and your agency can create new opportunities for youth to be engaged in their own case planning as a means of preparing them for permanency. This may include, for example, helping youth process and begin to resolve feelings of grief and loss, identifying what information they are comfortable sharing with prospective families, and discussing with them what family means.
I hope you will join us in celebrating National Adoption Month this November and consider ways you can support young people in considering permanency options and helping them understand what family means.