Engage Youth: Listen and learn during National Adoption Month

Some children may languish in foster care for years, drifting between placements or remaining in the foster care system's uncertain limbo. If reunification efforts fail, and children are unable to safely return to their birth families, they often become available for adoption. Many times, youth are reluctant to consider adoption or other permanency options because of the trauma they’ve experienced, conflicting loyalties to family and/or caregivers, or fear of lost identity. However, these youth still want the long-term stability they feel a family will bring them as they enter adulthood.  

This year, during National Adoption Month, the U.S. Children's Bureau urges people to consider how to engage youth by listening to their perspectives, understanding their needs and learning from them in order to support their path to permanency. When we open a channel of communication with youth, we can begin to address the barriers to achieving permanency, and we create opportunities for their well-being along the way. 

The 2020 theme, "Engage Youth: Listen and Learn," highlights resources to help professionals integrate youth voice in shaping child welfare processes and policies. In State Fiscal Year 2020, 22% of children in foster care in Georgia were adopted. Additionally, 25% of children in foster care with specific medical or other needs were also adopted.

By sharing the perspectives of youth who have experience with foster care and adoption, National Adoption Month aims to empower communities to involve youth in planning for their future. For more information on Georgia's children in need of caring, forever families, please visit ItsMyTurnNow.dhs.ga.gov or call 1-877-210-KIDS.