Minnesota celebrates adoption and kinship care

Adoption from Foster Care Awareness Month observed in November


November 22, 2022

Minnesota is marking Adoption from Foster Care Awareness Month this November with a focus on keeping families together whenever possible and, when necessary, seeking adoptive families.

When children enter Minnesota’s child protection system, the goal is to reunify them safely with their birth families. When that’s not possible, the Minnesota Department of Human Services works with partners and communities to prioritize finding relatives to provide permanent homes. When relatives aren’t available, DHS seeks other families to permanently best meet the needs of children in foster care.

While Minnesota families adopted 991 children from foster care last year, 569 are still waiting for permanent families. Of those waiting children, 51% are between the ages of 12 and 18 years old, while 59% are siblings who need to be adopted together.

“To best thrive, children need safe, nurturing, permanent homes,” said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “We celebrate families formed through adoption, while also recognizing the great need for more adoptive families who represent the cultural and ethnic backgrounds of children waiting for adoption, and for families to adopt older children and sibling groups.”

Earlier this month, more than 2,000 people participated in Minnesota’s 25th annual Circus of the Heart event. The Nov. 5 virtual gathering featured games, activities, prizes, parent education resources and more. Sponsored by MN ADOPT and DHS, the yearly event celebrates adoptive, kinship and foster families and is open to anyone interested in learning about adoption.

On any given day in Minnesota, approximately 7,700 children and youth are in foster care. Foster parents provide a temporary safe haven as families heal so children can return safely home or become part of another permanent family. Prospective adoptive or foster parents do not need to own a home, be married or have previous parenting experience.

Whenever feasible, DHS and its partners work with relatives to place children in relatives’ homes permanently. Of the almost 18,000 Minnesota foster children who went to live with permanent adoptive families since 1997, more than 7,200 went to permanent homes with relatives. Since 2018, relative and kinship adoptions have made up more than half of all foster care adoptions, up from a low of 18% in 2007.

Many of the children waiting for adoption have experienced trauma during critical developmental years. DHS seeks diverse families to provide support to these children in need.

Help is available along the way. Before, during and after adoption, DHS, counties, tribes and contracted adoption agencies provide information, support, training, services and referrals to children and parents.

For more information about adoption, contact a county or Tribal social service agency, visit MN ADOPT at http://www.mnadopt.org, or visit the adoption and kinship page on the DHS website.


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