Nov 28 2017
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released a statement on the importance of National Adoption Month:
"Mr. President, I rise today to call attention to the more than 112,000 foster children in our country who are waiting to be adopted. Of these, more than 14,000 are in California.
These are children with no permanent place to call home, who have experienced severe neglect or abuse. Through no fault of their own, these kids are uprooted from their lives, separated from everything they know, and unable to be safely reunited with their biological families. Many are moved from home to home with their few belongings in a garbage bag.
These are children who are waiting for a family, wanting to belong, and needing our help. Of these children, more than 20,000 age out of the foster care system every year without a place to call home. We can and must do better.
What happens to children who age out of the foster care system? They are shown the door and expected to suddenly be self-sustaining, successful adults. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the majority of our foster youth. I say “our” because these kids are all of our responsibility. They are in every community and we are failing them. For those who age out of the system, 20 percent become homeless. Only half are employed by age 24. Seventy percent of young women who age out of the system are pregnant by age 21. Less than three percent complete a college degree. Foster youth are also at higher risk of being victims of child sex-trafficking.
We can do better. Our children deserve better. Every child is meant to be in a family. In America families come in all sorts of wonderful shapes and sizes, and every foster child waiting to be adopted deserves the love, safety, and support that only a permanent family can provide. No child is unadoptable.
During the month of November, our nation celebrates National Adoption Month, and recognizes the families that have opened their hearts and homes to children in need of a family and the joy that adoption brings. I encourage anyone interested in building their family through adoption to visit www.adoptuskids.org.
It is also important to recognize the efforts of the volunteers and mentors who provide a positive, stable relationship for a child whose entire world is changing. In addition, programs that provide comprehensive resources—from mental health services to tutoring—help foster kids succeed. There may not be a simple solution, but we do know what gets us closer. There are programs in California and across the country that have shown improved permanency rates, nearly universal high school graduation rates, and success in college and employment. There is hope, and not a second to waste.
As National Adoption Month comes to a close, we must remember our foster youth year-round and strive to ensure that each one is connected with a permanent, loving home. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure a better future for foster youth in our country."