2011 Jordan Institute
16, No. 3
Adoption in North Carolina: by the Numbers
Ensuring all children have a loving, safe, and permanent family is a core goal of the child welfare system. The following data tell us something about how well our state is doing in pursuit of this goal.
How many children are adopted from foster care in NC?
How many young people in foster care in NC await adoption?
How long is the wait?
In SFY 2010, 33.2% of North Carolina children who left foster care through adoption were adopted within 24 months of their last entry into care (Duncan, et al., 2011). This is one of the key REAP “Achievements” North Carolina uses to track its performance related to adoption. Our state has improved on this performance measure every year since 2006 (USDHHS, 2011).
Gender. Of the NC children adopted from foster care in SFY 2009-10, 48% were female and 52% were male (Duncan, et al., 2011).
Age. As Figure 2 shows, most NC children who leave foster care through adoption are age six or younger. Between January 2001 and March 2010, an average of slightly more than 64 children age birth to six were adopted from foster care each month. During this same period about 28 children age seven to 12 and about 11 children age 13 and older were adopted from foster care each month. These are averages; the actual number of adoptees in each group varies each month (Duncan, 2010).
Race. Figure 3 describes the race of the children adopted from foster care in 2009. The percentage of adopted children from each group is typical for the past several years (USDHHS, 2011).
Disability. Children with a diagnosed disability make up an increasingly greater percentage of the NC children adopted from foster care. In 2006, 18.1% of children adopted from foster care in our state had a diagnosed disability; in 2009 that rose to 25.5% (USDHHS, 2011).
Who adopts children from foster care?
How many children are adopted each month?
The data suggest that the rate of adoptions in North Carolina is seasonal. Adoption numbers tend to be low in January and February and higher in May and June. There also appears to be an increase in October and November each year (Duncan, 2010). This pattern may reflect a push in May and June to finalize as many adoptions as possible before the state fiscal year ends on June 30, as well as an effort to finalize adoptions in October and November before the federal reporting (AFCARS) ends each year on November 15. Also, to avoid school changes, some social workers may wait until summer to place children—these adoptions would be finalized in the fall.