About National Adoption Month

National Adoption Month is an initiative of the Children's Bureau that seeks to increase national awareness of adoption issues, bring attention to the need for adoptive families for teens in the U.S. foster care system, and emphasize the value of youth engagement. The initiative began as National Adoption Week in 1984, as proclaimed by President Reagan. President Clinton then proclaimed the first National Adoption Month in 1995. In recent years, we have focused our efforts on adoption for teens because we know that teens in foster care wait longer for permanency and are at higher risk of aging out than younger children. Teens need love, support, and a sense of belonging that families can provide. Securing lifelong connections for these teens, both legally and emotionally, is critical in determining their future achievement, health, and well-being.

Each year, we focus our outreach and awareness-raising efforts around a new adoption-related theme to help support professionals working each day to find permanency for children and youth in foster care in their community. This year's National Adoption Month theme is "Empowering Youth: Finding Points of Connection." Empowering youth means that professionals make space for youth to take the lead in making decisions that affect their lives. Empowerment helps youth develop their own identity and recognize the talents and strengths that they have. When you're a teen in the child welfare system and away from your birth family, developing your identity can feel like you're on the journey alone. As adoption professionals, it is our job to be a partner on this journey and help youth remain connected to their roots while also finding new connections and opportunities. We must also embrace and affirm the youth's racial and cultural identity to ensure that the youth's holistic identity is considered when permanency planning.

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Key statistics

The following are key data from the fiscal year 2021 report for the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System

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National Adoption Month Partners

National Adoption Month is an initiative of the Children's Bureau. Its goal is to increase national awareness and draw attention and support for the thousands of teens in the U.S. foster care system who are waiting for permanent, loving families. The initiative is supported through a partnership with Child Welfare Information Gateway and AdoptUSKids.

The Children’s Bureau offers a variety of activities in support of the National Adoption Month initiative each year.

Adoption Excellence Awards

Recognizes outstanding accomplishments in achieving permanency for America's children waiting in foster care.

National Adoption Month Event

Amplifies the voices and stories of teens adopted from foster care and their families.

National Adoption Recruitment Campaign

Promotes adoption from foster care and raises awareness of the more than 122,000 children and teens who are waiting to be adopted.

National Adoption Month 2022 Webinar

Provides adoption professionals with tips and resources to engage youth in permanency planning.

Presidential Proclamation

If you are looking for other adoption-related information, you can explore the Adoption section of the Child Welfare Information Gateway website. If you are interested in adopting teens from foster care, please visit the resources and photolisting available from AdoptUSKids.

Child Welfare Information Gateway promotes the safety, permanency, and well-being of children, youth, and families by connecting child welfare, adoption, and related professionals—as well as the public—to information, resources, and tools covering child welfare, child abuse and neglect, out-of-home care, adoption, and more. Explore the Introduction to Adoption section on the Information Gateway website to learn more about adoption or visit some of our other free resources below.

  • The National Foster Care & Adoption Directory includes State-by-State listings of adoption agencies, State officials and services, support groups, and other related services.
  • Adoption Triad is a monthly e-brief that provides practical information, tools, and strategies to help agencies build their capacity to identify, recruit, and support families for children and youth.
  • The State Statutes Search provides State statutes on a range of issues related to child abuse and neglect, child welfare, and adoption.
  • The Information Gateway publications catalog includes over 170 bulletins for professionals, factsheets for families, Spanish materials, and other products produced or distributed by Information Gateway.
  • The Information Gateway library contains a wide range of searchable resources and literature on child abuse prevention, child abuse and neglect, out-of-home care, adoption, and other topics.

AdoptUSKids’ mission is to raise public awareness about the need for foster and adoptive families for children and youth living in foster care while also assisting States, territories and Tribes in recruiting, engaging, developing, and supporting foster and adoptive families. AdoptUSKids is a project of the Children’s Bureau.

How we help professionals:
AdoptUSKids supports child welfare workers and agencies with the following free resources:

  • National photolisting. Child welfare professionals use the free national photolisting to match children in need of permanent homes with approved adoptive parents who can meet their needs.
  • Publications. We publish guides, tip sheets, and archive webinars on topics such as writing strengths-based narratives, engaging youth, creating effective recruitment and response systems, and supporting families. 
  • Capacity-building services. We offer consultation, webinars, on and offsite training, and other opportunities for agency leaders to connect, learn, and ultimately improve their service to children and families.
  • Leadership development. We help emerging leaders develop skills and networks through our Minority Professional Leadership Development program. 
  • National ad campaignOur National Adoption Recruitment Campaign promotes adoption from foster care and raises awareness of the 122,000 children and teens waiting to be adopted. 
  • Speakers bureau. The AdoptUSKids speakers bureau is a group of nearly 100 spokespeople who help raise public awareness of the need for foster and adoptive families and inspire others by sharing their experiences of adopting from foster care.
  • Communications. AdoptUSKids' newsletters and active X (formerly Twitter) channel keep professionals informed about new resources, tools, and best practices that can help them do their jobs better.

How we help families:
We're here to help families every step of the way, from starting the process to foster or adopt to receiving a placement and accessing supportive services. We supply information, resources, and referrals that connect families seeking to foster and adopt with children and their caseworkers. We offer the only federally funded national photolisting of children and youth in foster care in the United States who are available for adoption. All its services are provided to families and professionals free of charge.