Facts and Statistics



In the U.S. 400,540 children are living without permanent families
in the foster care system.  115,000 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 40% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted.


Source: AFCARS Report, No. 19


Around the world, there are an estimated 153 million orphans

who have lost one parent.  There are 17,900,000 orphans who have lost both parents and are living in orphanages or on the streets and lack the care and attention required for healthy development.  These children are at risk for disease, malnutrition, and death.


Source: UNICEF and Childinfo


According to the U.S. State Department, U.S. families adopted more than 9,000 children in 2011.

Last year, Americans adopted the highest number of children from China  followed by Ethiopia, Russia, South Korea, and Ukraine.


No child under three years of age should be placed in institutional care

without a parent or primary caregiver.  This is based on results from 32 European countries, including nine in-depth country studies, which considered the “risk of harm in terms of attachment disorder, developmental delay and neural atrophy in the developing brain."


Source: Mapping the Number and Characteristics of Children Under Three in Institutions Across Europe at Risk of Harm: Executive Summary


Children raised in orphanages have an IQ 20 points lower

than their peers in foster care, according to a meta-analysis of 75 studies (more than 3,800 children in 19 countries).  This shows the need for children to be raised in families, not in institutions.


Source: IQ of Children Growing Up in Children's Homes A Meta-Analysis on IQ Delays in Orphanages


Each year, over 27,000 youth “age out” of foster care

without the emotional and financial support necessary to succeed.  This number has steadily risen over the past decade.  Nearly 40% had been homeless or couch surfed, nearly 60% of young men had been convicted of a crime, and only 48% were employed.  75% of women and 33% of men receive government benefits to meet basic needs.  50% of all youth who aged out were involved in substance use and 17% of the females were pregnant.


Source: Fostering Connections


Nearly 25% of youth aging out did not have a high school diploma

or GED, and a mere 6% had finished a two- or four-year degree after aging out of foster care.  One study shows 70% of all youth in foster care have the desire to attend college.


Source: Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth


As of 2011, nearly 60,000 children in foster care in the U.S. are placed in institutions

or group homes, not in traditional foster homes.


Source: AFCARS Report, No. 19


States spent a mere 1.2-1.3% of available federal funds

on parent recruitment and training services even though 22% of children in foster care had adoption as their goal.


Source: Adoption Advocate No. 6: Parent Recruitment and Training: A Crucial, Neglected Child


Over three years is the average length of time a child waits

to be adopted in foster care.  Roughly 55% of these children have had three or more placements.  An earlier study found that 33% of children had changed elementary schools five or more times, losing relationships and falling behind educationally.


Source: AFCARS Report, No. 19


Adopted children make-up roughly 2% of the total child population

under the age of 18, but 11% of all adolescents referred for therapy have been adopted.  Post-adoption services are important to all types of adoption, whether foster care adoption, international adoption, or domestic infant adoption.


Source: Behavior Problems and Mental Health Contacts in Adopted, Foster and Nonadopted Children