As we approach National Adoption Month in November, it seems timely to take a look at how Pennsylvania stacks up against other states when it comes to children in foster care.
The North American Council on Adoptable Children has done some analysis of 2011 adoption data and produced state-by-state fact sheets showing slightly more than 2,000 children in the commonwealth were adopted from foster care that year, but a similar number of children continued waiting to be adopted.
Pennsylvania has historically been considered by the federal government as a leader among states in the numbers of children leaving foster care to adoptive homes. But there continues to be much room for improvement, not only in how many children continue to wait, but how long they wait for a family. Among the Pennsylvania children who were adopted in 2011, the average wait was almost three years, and those who continued to wait had been in foster care even longer on average. This is an extremely long time to be in limbo, particularly when this wait is experienced during the critical years of childhood. Children shouldn't have to grow up in foster care or, even worse, eventually age out of foster care without a family to depend upon during the inevitable challenges that arise when transitioning to adulthood.
Adoption numbers and data clearly emphasize the need for Pennsylvania families to step up, but the statistics only tell part of the story. It’s the children themselves who make the strongest case for the importance and value of adoption. The Department of Public Welfare recently launched a social media campaign - #MeetTheKids - to give Pennsylvanians the opportunity to meet these amazing young people.
We encourage you to take a few minutes to watch this video and meet these young people, and we ask that you share their stories with your friends and colleagues.
Stay on top of the latest news affecting Pennsylvania's children by following Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children via social media: