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February 2008Vol. 9, No. 1American Attitudes About Foster Care Adoption

A new national survey commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption estimates that 48 million Americans have considered adoption from foster care, yet a majority of Americans hold misperceptions about the foster care adoption process and the children who are eligible for adoption.

The report, National Foster Care Adoption Attitudes Survey, 2007, indicates that two-thirds of those considering foster care adoption are unnecessarily concerned that biological parents can return to claim their children, and nearly half of all Americans mistakenly believe that foster care adoption is expensive.

Key findings from the survey suggest that:

  • American adults are considering foster care adoption more often than any other type of adoption but hold many misperceptions about the children waiting to be adopted and the foster care adoption process.
  • Approximately 72 percent of American adults have a very favorable opinion of adoption, and 69 percent believe society as a whole should be doing more to encourage foster care adoption.
  • Although 89 percent of Americans are familiar with adoption in general, only 79 percent of Americans are familiar with foster care adoption.

While there is a large pool of potential adoptive parents who are both familiar with the issue and considering acting (an estimated 48 million adults), 114,000 children still wait to be adopted from the U.S. foster care system.

Conducted by Harris Interactive, the survey of 1,660 Americans focused specifically on national attitudes toward foster care adoption. The full report, an executive summary, and a factsheet on foster care adoption are available online: