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Adoption Month: Number of Kids in NYC Foster Care Shrinking


Wednesday, November 9, 2022   

November is National Adoption Month, and New York City's foster care system is making headway in reducing the number of children in the system.

According to a report from the city's Administration for Children's Services, by January of this year, the number of kids in foster care had shrunk from 7,800 in 2020 to a little over 7,000 today. But finding a proper home for every child who needs one is not always easy, especially as they get older.

Daniel Miller, who recruits families for the "Wendy's Wonderful Kids" program, said young people ages 17 to 21 feel more independent and do not always see the need for a family.

"A lot of them are in that space where they feel like they've made it this far without an abundance of family support, so they can do the rest on their own," Miller noted. "And I try to explain to them that using your network to your benefit is your best bet."

Miller added he hopes the message of having family support will resonate with older children.

A survey by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption indicates more people might be interested in adoption if they knew more. Only about 17% of those surveyed were aware children in foster care can be adopted.

In the same survey of attitudes about adoption, a majority of people, 57%, said they would prefer adopting a child five years of age or younger. And half said a 13- to 16-year-old might be "too old" to adopt.

Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the Foundation, does not want more kids to fall through the cracks of foster care.

"About 20,000 children, year over year, who have been freed for adoption turn 18 in foster care and leave without an adoptive family," Soronen reported. "We failed those children. And so, we created this program to get teenagers, children in sibling groups, children with special needs, into adoptive homes."

Other survey findings are more hopeful. Some 37% of Americans have considered adopting at some point in their life, which is up 12% from 2017.

Disclosure: The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, LGBTQIA Issues, Philanthropy, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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