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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 Courts.

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 neglect.

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.