The goal of Listening to Parents is to eliminate the unnecessary barriers that prevent qualified, loving parents from adopting children in foster care. Each year, a quarter of a million prospective parents will approach child welfare agencies to learn about adopting a child from foster care. Too many will find these agencies to be unresponsive, bureaucratic, and unwelcoming. Many will give up in frustration. Waiting children will wonder why “no one wants me”. The parents who want to adopt will wonder, “Why is it so hard to adopt?” There is no irony more tragic in America. Fact: There are far more people wanting to adopt children from foster care than there are children in need of families:
- Joint research by Harvard University and the Urban Institute documented that in any given year, 240,000 Americans will call for information about adopting a child from foster care. Only a tiny fraction of these prospective parents, less than 4%, will actually adopt a child from foster care.
- According to the most recent National Survey of Family Growth, 600,000 American women were actively trying to adopt a child. The overwhelming number were interested in adopting a child that fit the profile of those in foster care. For every black child in foster care there are 12 prospective parents actively trying to adopt who would be willing to adopt a black child. For every child between 6 and 12 years of age, there are 8 prospective parents. For every child 13 years and older, there are 6 prospective parents.
Despite the documented fact that there are far more parents wanting to adopt than children available, each year, 30,000 children age out of foster care leaving foster care at 18 with no family, no resources and, all too often, no future.
Collaborating with child welfare leaders and experts from around the country, Listening to Parents works to eliminate the barriers that prevent children in need of families from being adopted by the families that want to adopt them.
Change is possible. The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 was designed to double the number of children adopted from foster care within five years. The skeptics were wrong. It took only three years to double the number of children adopted from foster care each year, from 25,000 to over 50,000.
We can create that kind of change again. Please join us.