Media Resources 2014

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1 Media Resources 2014

2 National Adoption Day Media Resources ABOUT NATIONAL ADOPTION DAY 2 HISTORY 2 NATIONAL PARTNERS 3 GOALS 4 POSITIONING STATEMENT 4 KEY MESSAGES 4 FACTS AND FIGURES 5 FOSTER CARE ADOPTION FACTS 5 DEBUNKING THE MYTHS 6 MEDIA CONTACTS 8

3 ABOUT NATIONAL ADOPTION DAY National Adoption Day is a collective national effort to raise awareness of the more than 100,000 children in U.S. foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families. This annual, one-day event has made the dreams of thousands of children come true by working with policymakers, practitioners and advocates to finalize adoptions and create and celebrate adoptive families. In total, National Adoption Day helped nearly 50,000 children move from foster care to a forever family. Communities across the county celebrate the Saturday before every Thanksgiving. In 2014, approximately 4,500 children were adopted by their forever families during the 15th annual National Adoption Day celebration in nearly 400 cities across the United States. This year the National Adoption Day Coalition expects 4,500 children in foster care to be adopted on November 22, 2014, this year s National Adoption Day. HISTORY National Adoption Day was launched in November 2000 as the National Adoption Day Coalition worked with law firms, state foster care agencies, child advocates and courts to complete hundreds of adoptions from foster care in nine jurisdictions nationwide (New York City; Los Angeles; Chicago; Dallas; El Paso, Texas; Fort Worth, Texas; Washington, D.C.; Omaha, Neb.; and Columbus, Ohio). As this grassroots effort took hold across the United States, the number of events grew quickly, from 17 in 2001 to now over 400 events across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Today National Adoption Day is celebrated nationwide on the Saturday before Thanksgiving as hundreds of events are held to finalize the adoptions of children in foster care, and to celebrate all families who adopt. In total, nearly 50,000 children have been adopted from foster care on National Adoption Day during the last 14 years. 2

4 NATIONAL PARTNERS A coalition of national partners Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, The Alliance for Children s Rights, and Children s Action Network sponsor National Adoption Day to draw special attention to children in foster care waiting for permanent families and to celebrate all loving families that adopt. Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption: The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated exclusively to finding permanent homes for the more than 130,000 children waiting in North America s foster care systems. Created by Wendy s founder Dave Thomas who was adopted, the Foundation implements results-driven national programs, foster care adoption awareness and advocacy initiatives. To learn more, visit davethomasfoundation.org or call ASK- DTFA. The Alliance for Children's Rights: The Alliance for Children's Rights is Los Angeles only free legal services organization devoted solely to helping children living in poverty and foster care. The Alliance s mission is to ensure children get the support and services they need to become healthy, productive adults. Since 1992, The Alliance has worked together with the Los Angeles Juvenile Court and the Department of Children and Family Services to expedite and increase the number of children adopted from Los Angeles foster care. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute: The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about children in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes; and to eliminating the barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic need of a family. CCAI serves as an informational and educational resource to policymakers as they seek to draft positive adoption legislation and to focusing public attention on the advantages of adoption. Children s Action Network: Formed in 1990 by leaders in the entertainment industry, the Children s Action Network (CAN) is dedicated to improving the lives of America s children. Through extensive public education campaigns, community-based programs and policy initiatives, CAN uses the power of the entertainment community to increase awareness about children s issues and make them a top priority in everyday life. 3

5 GOALS Finalize adoptions from foster care in all 50 states. Celebrate and honor families who adopt. Raise awareness of the more than 100,000 children in foster care waiting for permanent, loving homes. Encourage others to adopt children from foster care. Build collaboration among local adoption agencies, courts and advocacy organizations. POSITIONING STATEMENT National Adoption Day is a collective national effort to raise awareness of the more than 100,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families. This annual, one-day event has made the dreams of thousands of children come true by working with policymakers, practitioners and advocates to finalize adoptions and create and celebrate adoptive families. Today National Adoption Day is celebrated nationwide annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving as hundreds of events are held to finalize the adoptions of children in foster care, and to celebrate all families who adopt. KEY MESSAGES National Adoption Day is celebrated nationwide annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It s one day each year that courts, communities and families set aside to celebrate families formed through adoption, finalize adoptions and raise awareness of the more than 100,000 children in foster care waiting for loving, permanent homes. One day, every year, on National Adoption Day, the lives of more than 4,500 children are changed as courts finalize adoptions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since its creation in 2000, nearly 50,000 adoptions have been finalized on National Adoption Day. National Adoption Day has one goal: to decrease the number of children in foster care by connecting them with their forever families. Dedicated and determined policymakers, judges and adoption attorneys, community event planners, adoption advocates, and most importantly the hundreds of families who welcome such deserving children into their homes, will work together to raise awareness and increase foster care adoptions. This year, National Adoption Day is particularly focused on the more than 22,000 children each year who reach the age of 18 without ever finding forever families. That s 1 in 4 children from foster care who age out of the system with no place to call home, no family to support them, no table to join for Thanksgiving. National Adoption Day also serves to dispel the many myths surrounding foster care adoption that it is expensive, the process takes longer than other forms of adoption or that the children did something wrong. There is nothing wrong with a child that can t be made right by a loving and caring permanent family. There is support available for adoption from foster care that makes it virtually free, and it takes no longer than any other form of adoption. National Adoption Day is supported by a coalition that includes the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Children s Action Network, and Alliance for Children s Rights. Visit to learn more about foster care adoption and National Adoption Day. 4

6 FACTS AND FIGURES FOSTER CARE ADOPTION FACTS Every year, more than 100,000 children in foster care are available for adoption. Many spend more than five years waiting for permanent, loving homes. Who are these waiting children? There are an estimated 402,378 children in foster care in the United States, and more than 100,000 of them are waiting to be adopted. Through no fault of their own, these children enter foster care as a result of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment. The average child waits for an adoptive family for nearly four years. 13 percent spend 5 years or more waiting for a family (13,217 children). The average age of children waiting for an adoptive family is 8 years old. What happens to them? 50,608 children are adopted from foster care. More than 22,000 children reach the age of 18 without ever finding a forever family. Who adopts from foster care? Children in foster care are adopted by three types of families: former foster parents (58 percent), relatives (31 percent) and non-relatives (26 percent) [note: data missing prior relationship 5%]. Of the families who adopt children from foster care, 67 percent are married couples, 27 percent are single females, 3 percent are single males, and 3 percent are unmarried couples. A national survey in 2013 revealed that 47 million Americans have considered adoption from foster care more so than any other form of adoption, including private adoption of an infant or international adoption. (National Foster Care Adoption Attitudes Survey, June Commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and conducted by Harris Interactive.) To find out more about adopting a child in the United States, please visit or call ASK-DTFA. (Unless otherwise indicated, statistics are provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families Administration on Children AFCARS Report; Preliminary FY 2013 Estimates as of July 2014.) 5

7 DEBUNKING THE MYTHS MYTH: There are not enough loving families available who want to adopt children from foster care. FACT: A national survey commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and conducted by Harris Interactive in 2012 reveals that one in five American adults have considered adoption, and of those, 72 percent, or roughly 47 million Americans have considered adoption from foster care more so than any other form of adoption, including private adoption of an infant or international adoption. The research indicates that there are many families interested in foster care adoption but that more needs to be done to find ways to connect these families with waiting children. Through National Adoption Day, the Coalition puts a national spotlight on more than 100,000 waiting children in foster care in the hope that more people will take steps to adopt. MYTH: There s too much red tape and bureaucracy involved in adopting a child from foster care. FACT: Congress has streamlined the foster care adoption process through enactment of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of This law stipulates that children in foster care, who cannot be reunited with their birth parents, are freed for adoption and placed with permanent families as quickly as possible. MYTH: Adopting a child from foster care is expensive. FACT: Actually, adopting children from foster care can be virtually free. Many agencies do not charge for the services they provide to families who are adopting a child from foster care. In addition, a growing number of companies and government agencies offer adoption assistance as part of their employee benefits packages, including time off for maternity/paternity leave, financial incentives, and other benefits. Congress has also made federal tax credits available for foster care adoptions to help offset required fees, court costs, and legal and travel expenses. In 2014, the maximum federal tax credit for qualifying expenses is $13,190. These types of benefits enable more families to adopt children from foster care into their homes. MYTH: Adoptive parents must be a modern version of Ozzie and Harriet. FACT: Prospective adoptive parents do not have to be rich, married, own a home, or be of a certain race or age to become an adoptive parent (Nearly one-third of adoptions from foster care are by single parents). In fact, families are as diverse as the children who are available for adoption. Patience, a good sense of humor, a love of children and the commitment to be a good parent are the most important characteristics. MYTH: All children in foster care have some kind of physical, mental or emotional handicap; that s why they are classified as special needs. FACT: The term special needs is somewhat misleading, because it can mean that the child is older, a minority or requires placement with his/her siblings. While some children are dealing with physical or emotional concerns, they need the nurturing support only a permanent family can provide. Many children in foster care are in the system because their birth parents weren t protective and nurturing caretakers not because the children did anything wrong or because there is something wrong with them. MYTH: State agencies may withhold information about a child s past in order to get that child placed with a family. 6

8 FACT: State agencies are legally required to provide full, factual information about a child to any potential adoptive parents. Agencies have an invested interest in ensuring that parents have a positive experience with foster care adoption so they will continue to adopt and recommend others do the same. For children who have physical, emotional or behavioral problems, agencies seek to provide the most comprehensive post-adoptive services available to help the children transition into their new homes. MYTH: Families don t receive support after the adoption is finalized. FACT: Financial assistance does not end with the child s placement or adoption. The vast majority of children adopted from foster care are eligible for federal or state subsidies that help offset both short-and long-term costs associated with post-adoption adjustments. Such benefits, which vary by state, commonly include monthly cash subsidies, medical assistance and social services. More information about federal and state subsidy programs is available from the National Adoption Assistance Training, Resource, and Information Network helpline at MYTH: Children in foster care have too much baggage. FACT: This is perhaps the biggest myth of all. Children in foster care just like all children have enormous potential to thrive given love, patience and a stable environment. Just ask former U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell or Minnesota Viking Dante Culpepper. They were both foster children who were adopted by caring adults. MYTH: It s too difficult to find information on how to adopt. FACT: There are resources available to help potential parents take the first step towards adopting out of foster care. For more information log on to or simply call ASK-DTFA. MYTH: If you re gay or lesbian, you can t adopt. FACT: Most states allow gay or lesbian parents to adopt. Several states allow gay or lesbian couples to adopt jointly. Contact your local state agency to find out the guidelines that apply to you. 7

9 MEDIA CONTACTS Jill Crumbacher Senior VP of Marketing and Development Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption Phone: Amanda Wurst Account Supervisor Paul Werth Associates Phone:

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