The average age of children waiting to be adopted from foster care is just over 8 years old, according to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System. Trends indicate that when children waiting to be adopted reach between 8 and 9 years old, they are more likely to continue to wait for a family than be adopted. Many State child welfare agencies offer services and strategies to help older children and youth find permanent families.
This section has resources on emerging practices for working with these children and youth.
Older Youth Need Families
Answers commonly asked questions about the importance and process of adopting older teens.
Permanency & Transition Planning
American Bar Association (2017)
Presents the part of the Youth Engage Project designed to help engage older youth in foster care and promote permanency and positive outcomes. The website provides resources for both professionals and youth.
Success Beyond 18: Quality Case Planning With Young Adults in Extended Foster Care
Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative (2014)
Highlights strategies for working with young adults in foster care and adoption case planning.
Child Welfare Information Gateway; AdoptUSKids
Download (PDF - 1,070KB)
We Never Outgrow the Need for Family–Just Ask Us: Talking With Older Youth About Adoption [Webinar]
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau, AdoptUSKids (2016)
Presents how to have more effective and meaningful conversations with teenagers about permanency. This webinar featured a panel discussion with two young adults formerly in foster care, an adoptive parent, and an adoption professional.