Adoption & Guardianship
Who are the Children?
They are children who are in the foster care system. The foster care
system serves children who have suffered abuse or neglect. In FY 2000,
over 11,600 children were reported as victims of abuse or neglect. Many
of these children were sexually abused, emotionally mistreated, or medically
neglected. As of January 2001, there were approximately 2,000 children
in foster care.
Not all children in the foster care system end up in adoption or guardianship.
Many of them return to their birth parents. For those children who cannot
return, adoption and guardianship are viable long-term, permanent options.
When children in the foster care system are ultimately placed for adoption
or guardianship, their birth parents' rights have been severed by the
Clearly, while each child adopted from the foster care system is different,
and presents a unique set of needs, there are experiences common to foster
care children. Experiences such as domestic violence and substance abuse,
while distinct onto themselves, frequently occur with child abuse and
The available data about the experiences of foster care children, including
the extent and nature of the abuse and neglect they have suffered, is
important in understanding the on-going needs of these children.