Contact:  Sandy Adkins
Communications Specialist
National Center for State Courts


State courts participate in National Adoption Day

Williamsburg, Va. (Nov. 18, 2011) — November is National Adoption Month and Nov. 19 is National Adoption Day. Since it began in 2000, National Adoption Day has seen the adoption of more than 35,000 children from foster care. All over the country, courts will be finalizing adoptions for children. This interactive map highlights hundreds of Adoption Day events taking place in cities across the United States.

Approximately 136,000 children are adopted annually in the United States, but complete domestic adoption data are difficult to find. There is no single source for the total number of children adopted in the United States, and there is currently no straightforward way of determining the total number of adoptions, even when multiple data sources are used. Agencies that collect adoption-related data do so for their own purposes and, therefore, count adoptions differently (e.g., by court cases filed, birth certificates modified, adoptions completed by public agencies), which makes aggregation difficult. 

The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) plays a key role in gathering and providing adoption data and works with the Children's Bureau on state and national data regarding adoption and foster care, child abuse and neglect, and child welfare. Estimates of the number of children adopted in each state will soon be available from the Children's Bureau. The latest data available are from 2008 because of the length of time it takes states and secondary data sources like NCSC to collect the data, clean the data, and then make them available. Data often are not available until two years after the reporting year concludes.

States are mandated to report public-agency adoption data to the Adoption and Foster Care Reporting and Analysis System, which collects case-level information on all children in foster care for whom state child welfare agencies have responsibility for placement, care, or supervision, and on children who are adopted under the auspices of the state's public child welfare agency.

Other resources on adoption include:


The NCSC Backgrounder is designed to provide the media with statistics and facts related to current issues of interest.

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation's state courts.