By Genesis Rose, Senior
Originally just a week, National Adoption Awareness was lengthened to a month under the Clinton presidency. The month intends to specifically highlight children in foster care, and encourage those who are able to adopt. Today, a large majority of children who are adopted are adopted from foster care.
The Children’s Bureau’s National theme for this year’s Adoption Awareness Month is “Teens Need Families, No Matter What.” There seems to be a misunderstanding amongst potential adoptive parents where they feel as though teens do not need to be saved from the system because they are on the verge of aging out.
According to the Children’s Bureau prospective parents want to mold a child in their own image, and they feel as though this cannot be done with a teenager who has already developed their own views, ideals, and outlooks.
This year’s campaign aims to push those parents who have skepticism surrounding teenage adoptees to adopt these teens “No Matter What.” Teens in foster care often fall victim to “the system.” There are nearly 400,000 children living without permanent families in the foster care system. According to the National Foster Youth Institute nearly 60% of young men who age out of the foster care system have been convicted of a crime. This suggests that there is a direct correlation between parentless youth and criminal tendencies.
The NYFI also claims that 25% of children who age out of the system do not graduate highschool of obtain a GED. Without the persistent push of a parental figure or the motivation inspired by the love one receives from their family, these teens find school unnecessary and cumbersome.
In spite of all the obstacles they endure, 70% of foster kids would like to attend college some day. The guidance, support, and love of a parental figure is priceless and its importance to the growth and development of a young mind cannot be accurately captivated within the margins of a news article.
Although we are not ourselves able to adopt these children, we can all do our part by spreading awareness, taking the time to educate ourselves, and maybe someday in the distant future reversing the statistics.
“51 Useful Aging Out of Foster Care Statistics | Social Race Media -.” National Foster Youth Institute, 26 May 2017, www.nfyi.org/51-useful-aging-out-of-foster-care-statistics-social-race-media/.