Today (November 17) is National Adoption Day – a collective effort to raise awareness of the more than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States: 25% of whom are waiting to be adopted into permanent, loving families. The older a child becomes, the lower their chances of being adopted according to statistics. One of the biggest concerns among child welfare advocates is foster children who age out of the system (no longer eligible at 18 years old). It is with those children in mind that Bethany Christian Services is running the “30 Families for 30 Kids” campaign throughout November.
Before sharing the specifics of the campaign, let me recognize some others who have made a significant impact on this dilemma. As a result of concentrated efforts by various organizations like the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and the Christian Alliance for Orphans, the number of children in foster care across the U.S. has decreased sharply over the last decade – from 523,000 to just over 400,000, according to the most recent report provided by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). While we are extremely grateful for these results and believe the continued decrease of children in foster care is certainly a positive development, unfortunately, the number of older children who aged out of the foster care system without ties to their own parents or with any other home is still high – 26,286.
Statistics show that living in foster care long-term can have a negative and lasting impact on children. More than 40% of foster children end up abusing drugs and alcohol, 40% turn to crime, and up to 10% commit suicide. To raise awareness to the plight of older children in foster care waiting for adoption, Bethany recently launched “30 Families for 30 Kids,” a Facebook campaign highlighting 30 children waiting to be united with a forever family.
My hope is that the “30 Families for 30 Kids” campaign will have a lasting impact on securing loving homes for the vulnerable children in the foster care system. We must remember that foster care is a critical, but temporary solution for children in need of a loving family who will walk with them during a time of crisis and welcome them unconditionally into their home. The ultimate aim of foster care is to reunite children with their biological family, or find an adoptive family for those whom reunification is not an option.
Each day in November, Bethany is highlighting a waiting child on its Facebook page in hopes of finding not only a family for that child, but also families for the more than 100,000 children currently in the U.S. foster care system that are in need of a family to adopt them.
Families interested in adopting a child featured in the “30 Families for 30 Kids” campaign, or in inquiring about becoming a foster parent, can contact Bethany at 1.800.BETHANY or firstname.lastname@example.org.