This passage is taken directly from the National Adoption Center. To find out more please click here to visit the main webpage of the National Adoption Center.
The foster care system is a temporary arrangement in which adults provide for the care of a child or children whose birthparent is unable to care for them. It is where children go when their parents cannot, for a variety of reasons, care for them.
Foster care can be informal or arranged through the courts or a social service agency. The goal for a child in the foster care system is usually reunification with the birthfamily, but may be changed to adoption when this is seen as in the child's best interest. While foster care is temporary, adoption is permanent.
Adoption from the foster care system can happen in two ways. Foster adoption or fost-adopt, is a form of adoption in which a child is placed into a home as a foster child, with the expectation that the child will become legally free and be adopted by the foster, parents. Some children are not adopted by their foster parents. Their birthparents rights have been terminated, and they are legally free for adoption. A family can find out about those children through services such photolistings on Wednesday's Child and Meet The Children.
According to the National Adoption Center, more than 101,000 children wait for permanent homes in the United States. Most are school-aged or older. Many have emotional, physical, or learning disabilities. There are brothers and sisters who need to stay together. More than half of the children come from minority cultures.
Caucasian children under five years old often have severe medical disabilities or have older brothers and sisters. African American children, Latino children, and children of mixed heritage cover a wider age range and include healthy infants. The majority are boys.
Most children waiting for adoption live in foster or group homes because their parents were unable to care for them. Often, personal and family problems made it impossible for the parents to maintain a home for their children. Some of these children have been abused, neglected or abandoned.