In July, Texas released it’s “Kids Count” statistical report for 2010. The report showed that Texas has the third-highest teen pregnancy rate in the United States and the highest child poverty rate. I think these two things are related.
A teen mom is less likely to be able to support herself and her child(ren). She is (statistically) likely to have less family support than older mothers and to come from a lower-income background. She is more likely to be a single parent, and 1/3 of kids here live in single-parent homes. Children who live in poverty before the age of 5 can suffer cognitive impairment and other issues. If a Texas child is Hispanic or black, he or she is three times as likely as a white child to live in poverty.
So what does all of this have to do with foster-to-adopt? I included these facts– using only one state as an example– to motivate you. Because, in fact, choosing to parent a child coming out of the foster care system is impacting their life in a major way. As you intervene in the previous course of this child’s life, you greatly increase his or her odds of avoiding many of the “danger zones” just mentioned. Kids who remain in the foster care system for longer periods without being adopted are far more likely to become teen parents. Of the children who “age out” of foster care, 1 in 4 will live in poverty. Most foster kids will not graduate from high school, and only 3% will go to college.
Of course, adopting a foster child is not a panacea. The child may still have serious issues, fail to graduate, or become pregnant– just like birth children! However, the very fact of their adoption– their belonging and being loved and cared for– makes all of these things a smaller risk. No matter how good the foster family, to the kids, it’s not home. So finding families who are willing to take the chance to be that home is crucial. Thanks for being a part of the solution.