Child protective services investigate reported incidents of child abuse or neglect and attempt to find adoptive homes for children who are unable to live with their biological parents. Each state has its own agency, but generally an investigation begins within 24 hours of a complaint and is concluded within 30 days. In 2003, 2.9 million complaints of child abuse or neglect were filed nationally, but it's estimated that three times that number actually occurred. In 2009, around 57,450 children were adopted in the U.S. through publically funded child welfare agencies. California, with 7,438 adopted children, topped the list, followed by Texas, with 4,976 adopted children. The total number of children adopted in 2009 was 115,000, a decrease from 135,000 in 2006.
If the allegations that the children are being abused or neglected are true, the parents are incapable or unwilling of caring for the children properly, and the children are removed from the house, child protective services asks the court to terminate parental rights and the children are put up for adoption. In Michigan, more than 2,700 children were adopted in 2009, via the Michigan Department of Human Services and private adoption agencies, and there are currently around 5,300 children who are in foster care and whose parents have had their parental rights terminated. The state of Georgia usually has hundreds of children who are waiting to be adopted, and it features one child or sibling group on the 6:00 p.m. news each Wednesday.
Prospective parents should be aware that adopting through child protective services means that they may have to deal with children suffering from physical, mental or emotional difficulties due to the neglect or abuse they went through. On the other hand, various financial benefits are available to help adoptive parents provide for their special children and they may be eligible for tuition exemptions.