While all adoption-related issues are important, the particular focus of this month is the adoption of children currently in foster care. Coincidentally (or intentionally) the movie, Instant Family starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne, opens today. The film, which is based on the real-life fostering and adoption experience of the movie’s director Sean Anders, has received some good reviews. The message is one of unconditional love and embracing family wherever you find it.
*According to the most recent Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data for FY 2017, of the 123,000 children and youth in the USA waiting to be adopted:
- 52% are male
- 48% are female
- The average age is 8 years old
- 11% are between 15 and 17 years old
- Average time in foster care is 31 months
**In 2015, of the over 1,200 children in out-of-home care in South Dakota:
- 28% were white
- 4% were black
- 7% were Hispanic
- 48% were American Indian/Alaskan Native
- 1% were Asian or Pacific Islander
- 13% were of more than one race or ethnicity/undetermined race or ethnicity
- 49 children “aged out” of out-of-home care—exited foster care to emancipation
Approximately 300 children in South Dakota are currently awaiting adoption, and about 30 of them are 15–17-year olds who need permanent family connections to carry them into adulthood. This year’s National Adoption Month focuses on the importance of empowering youth voices. When teenagers with experience in foster care—whether they have reunified with birth family, found permanency with an adoptive family, or entered adulthood independently—share their stories, their unique insights can inspire their peers and prospective adoptive families.
LSS offers free informational meetings regarding the process to become foster or adoptive parents. For more information about becoming a foster parent in Rapid City, contact Chelsie Ogaard at Chelsie.Ogaard@LssSD.org or call 605-791-6730; in Sioux Falls contact Jill Jensen at LSS at Jill.Jensen@LssSD.org or call 605-221-2346.
For more information on domestic infant and international adoption contact Hayley Van Den Brink at Hayley.VanDenBrink@LssSD.org or call 605-221-2346.
-submitted by Joyce Twite, Administrative Support Specialist, LSS Adoption and Foster Care Services
* Source: Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) FY 2017 data https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/afcarsreport25.pdf
**Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2015)