Impact of Foster Care & Adoption


The risk of negative outcomes is reduced through a nurturing and stable foster family care experience and adoption.

How we treat our kids matters. Today we say #ItsTime to change the way we represent, treat, and protect our children in America. All kids deserve a good chance at life! It starts in childhood.

The Impact of Foster Care

Foster children usually enter the foster care system due to abuse and trauma in their home. Neglect is the #1 reason children are removed, followed by parental drug use.

When children in foster care experience placement instability, this instability has a significant impact on their behavioral well-being. A study showed a 63% increase in behavior problems due to instability alone. It is suggested that interventions that promote placement stability would improve outcomes among youth entering foster care.

Older youth and teens age 15-18 have lower adoption rates than younger children and wait longer to be adopted, often aging out of the system without a stable place to call home.

Displacement and instability causes a unique set of emotional, social, financial and academic challenges for them. Foster kids often experience grief, guilt, anger, sadness, loneliness, anxiety, low self-esteem, mental and physical health issues.

The Positive Impact of Adoption - American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children

The Positive Impact of Adoption

Adoption affects adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents) and other birth and family members throughout life. The adoption experience can contribute to feelings of loss and grief, questions about self-identity, or a lack of information about their medical background.

However, adoption whether formal or informal, has always been a superior method of assuring survival for children whose parents are unwilling or unable to care for them.

Adoption can affect child development in profound ways. Data collected from studies over the past three decades, supports adoption as a superior means of promoting normal development in children permanently separated from birth parents.

Out of calamity and loss, children recover and progress to become functionally and emotionally competent adults. For children suffering severe neglect or abuse in early life, an adoptive family is a remarkable environment for healing emotional and physical trauma and reversing developmental deficits. Adopted persons generally lead lives that are very similar to their non-adopted peers.

“Every child, regardless of age, deserves the love and stability that a family can offer. Families who adopt older youth provide teens with love, acceptance and support during a critical period of life and throughout many important milestones.”
— Rafael López, Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families.


Take the ACEs Quiz

What happens to kids during childhood shapes who they become as adults.

Children who are abused or neglected are at higher risk for health problems as adults know as Adverse Childhood Experiences. These problems include alcoholism, depression, drug abuse, eating disorders, obesity, high-risk sexual behaviors, smoking, suicide, and certain chronic diseases.

What’s your ACEs score? Take the quiz and find out.

Types of Child Abuse

Child Neglect

Child Neglect is Child Abuse - American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children

Physical Abuse


Emotional Abuse


Sexual Abuse

Sexual Child Abuse - American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse-Childhood-Experiences-ACEs Child Abuse American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children

Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken Baby Syndrome American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is Child Abuse American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children

Trafficking & Exploitation

Trafficking and Child Exploitation American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children

Click for References & Sources

  1. The Impact of Placement Stability on Behavioral Well-being for Children in Foster Care. David M. Rubin, Amanda L.R. O’Reilly, Xianqun Luan, A. Russell Localio.
  2. US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, The Physical & Mental Health of Children in Foster Care.
  3. Child Welfare Information Gateway. Supporting Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care.
  4. Institute for Research on Poverty. What We Know About the Effects of Foster Care. Retrieved From:
  5. Adoption and the effect on children’s development, Dana E.Johnson.
  6. Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System #24 | October 2017
  7. Child Welfare Outcomes 2009-2012 Report to Congress