Foster Care Adoption: Facts & Figures

Every year, more than 107,000 children in foster care are available for adoption. Many spend more than five years waiting for permanent, loving homes.

Who are these waiting children?

  • There are an estimated 440,000 children in foster care in the United States, and more than 123,000 of them are waiting to be adopted.

  • Through no fault of their own, these children enter foster care as a result of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment.

  • The average child waits for an adoptive family for more than two years.

  • 19 percent spend 5 years or more waiting for a family (24,300 children). The average age of children waiting for an adoptive family is 8.
What happens to them?
  • 59,000 children are adopted from foster care.
  • More than 20,000 children emancipate between the ages of 18 nad 21 without ever finding a forever family.
Who adopts from foster care?
  • Children in foster care are adopted by three types of families:
    - former foster parents (51 percent)
    - relatives (35 percent)
    - non-relatives (14 percent)
  • Of the families who adopt children from foster care, 68 percent are married couples, 25 percent are single females, 3 percent are single males, and 3 percent are unmarried couples.
  • A national survey in 2017 revealed that one-quarter of all Americans have considered adoption from foster care – more so than any other form of adoption, including private adoption of an infant or international adoption. 
(Sources:,,, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children Families Administration on Children.)