John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Sunday, January 08, 2012
  Failed Adoptions create more homeless youths (in the USA)
The link is to a story (29/12/2011) in the New York Times about failed adoptions leading to homelessness.

The USA started the obsession with adoption as a "solution" to care. They have about 50,000 "adoptions" from care each year. They don't actually track the total adoptions figure as the most recent total figure is from 2001 and is around 127,000.

There is a very important distinction between adoption from care in the USA and England. In the USA there is often an adoption fee paid by the state which results in more children being "adopted". The question, of course, is what happens when the money stops.

That is also why there are more older adoptions in the USA.

In the UK the starting problem is that the care system often makes really silly decisions. We had the story in The Times about adoptees voting with their feet in their teens. It is important to note that this applies to children adopted in the 1990s. Our big push for adoption was from 2000 onwards hence one would expect this to become a bigger problem over this decade.

If you take a simple comparison of population of the USA at 300M and England at 50M then the English rate of adoptions at just over 3,000 (3040 to the nearest 10) would give 18,000 adoptions in the USA (from care). If you take the figure of permanence at just under 6,000 that compares to 36,000. However, the USA figure also really includes foster care. That is why their figure is so high. (And why you get stories like the NY times story linked to).

I don't know enough about the USA system to comment much more. I know a lot of children die violent deaths in the USA. However, I don't know to what extent they are teenagers dying in gang warfare or children dying at the hands of their carers. It remains that the Gilbert conclusion in the Lancet (also December 2011) is that the approach in both countries to child protection is not actually reducing the amount of child maltreatment.

That particular aspect is a much more complex issue.
 
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