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Report: Fewer Adoptions of Older Youth Make Transition Tough

Experts encourage the adoption of older youths in foster care during National Adoption Month. Credit: Greg Stotelmyer
Experts encourage the adoption of older youths in foster care during National Adoption Month. Credit: Greg Stotelmyer
November 24, 2015

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Transitioning into adulthood can be difficult for many teens, especially for those who age out of foster care without ever being adopted. Experts say those teens lack the family support system to help them become independent.

Researchers at the Chapin Hall Policy Research Center at the University of Chicago find that, as adults, they're more likely to be unemployed, rely on public assistance and become involved with the criminal justice system, and women are more likely to have a child out of wedlock.

That's why national project director Kathy Ledesma and colleagues at AdoptUSKids are using November, National Adoption Month, to urge families to adopt older youth from the foster care system.

"Eighteen percent of the children and youths who are waiting for adoption are between the ages of 15 and 18 years old." says Ledesma. "And one-third are age 13 or older. So, the need is greatest for this group."

According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, 24 percent of the children currently in the state's foster care system first entered when they were 12 years of age or older.

Adoption statistics show that people are less willing to adopt children between the ages of 15 and 18. Ledesma says teens in foster care often are stereotyped.

"The biggest one is teens are in foster care because they did something wrong, and they didn't," she says. "Something went wrong in their family. So, they're in foster care through no fault of their own."

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY