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Gallup Center on Black Voices collaborated with Kidsave to better understand the perceptions of and barriers to mentoring, foster care and adoption, especially among Black Americans.

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Americans' Views of U.S. Foster Care: Elevating Black Americans' Perspectives and Experiences

More than 391,000 children and youth are currently in the U.S. foster care system, and a safe, stable home is critical to their wellbeing. Yet one in every 10 children don't have a stable placement with a family, and instead are living in a group home, institution or supervised independent living.

The need is even greater for Black children. Black youth make up 22% of children in U.S. foster care, even though they represent just 14% of American children, and are less likely to find a permanent home through adoption than children of other racial backgrounds.

Gallup Center on Black Voices collaborated with Kidsave to better understand how the American public -- especially Black Americans -- view the foster care system and adoption from foster care. This study shows that Americans face several critical barriers when it comes to fostering or adopting.

KIDSAVE: Americans' Views of U.S. Foster Care report cover

Results from this study are intended to help increase the number of foster and adoptive parents available for children in need of care by identifying the biggest barriers to mentoring, fostering and adopting, especially for Black potential caregivers. Download the report to learn more.

Listen to Gallup podcast episode, Black Americans Are More Knowledgeable About and Involved in Foster Care -- but They Have More Reservations About How the System Works, on these popular platforms or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Data for this study were collected using both mail and web surveys March 22 through April 11, 2023. A total of 5,469 surveys were collected, primarily using the Gallup Panel. Supplemental responses were collected through a third-party opt-in sample provider.

The Gallup Panel and opt-in samples were weighted independently and then combined using composite weighting procedures. Post-stratification weights were then used to match national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity and education, with cross-classified targets within race.

The adjusted margin of error (adjusted for design effect) for all respondents was ±1.9 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For the 1,563 Black or African American respondents the adjusted margin of error was ±4.0 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Qualitative interviews were conducted between Sept. 7 to Oct. 26, 2023, and included Black adults who live in the greater Los Angeles and Houston metropolitan statistical areas. See the full report for more methodological details.

63% of U.S. adults know little or nothing about the foster care system.
26% of Black adults have thought "a lot" about adopting from foster care, compared to the national rate of 18%.
7x Adults who connect with a child through mentoring programs have seven times greater odds of adopting, even if they've never provided foster care.

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