What are some statistics on parent relationships with foster or adopted children?


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has an Administration for Children and Families that collects and publishes various data on both foster and adopted children in the United States.

The HHS’s most recent fact sheet, published in 2010 and covering data through 2008, delved into the foster relationships and status of the almost half million children in foster care in the United States. Almost half the foster children (47%) were placed in non-relative foster homes, while around a quarter of them (24%) were placed in homes of relatives. Five percent of foster children remained in their parents’ home, but were considered foster children because the state’s child protective services retained supervision of the child, and it was responsible for making regular home visits to check on the child’s welfare. Four percent of the foster children were in preadoptive homes, meaning that the foster parents were considering legal adoption of the foster child. The rest of the foster children had no specific relationship with a foster parent figure, either relative or nonrelative. Some of the remaining foster children (16%) lived in either institutions or group homes. A small percentage (2%) was unaccounted for and considered runaways. Finally, one percent of the foster children lived on their own under state supervision [source: HHS].

HHS, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued its most recent report on adoption trends in 2008 and it covers adoption data of 2002. According to this report, adoption remained quite rare in the United States; only 1.1% of women and 2.3% of men between the ages of 18 and 44 adopted a child. The report highlighted the interesting state of more men adopting children than women. The CDC explained this discrepancy by noting that men usually adopt as a means to solidify a step-father/step-child relationship, while women tend to adopt to become first-time mothers.