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HISTORY OF ADOPTION IN THE UNITED STATES


ADOPTION STATISTICS

Historical statistics on domestic adoptions during the twentieth century are interesting, but they are scarce and can also be misleading. Field studies did not even begin to estimate numbers of adoptions, or document who was being adopted by whom, until almost 1920. When researchers began to tally adoptions, they did so in only a handful of Northeastern and Midwestern states and based conclusions about statewide patterns on records from a few counties, usually in urban areas.

A national reporting system for adoption existed only between 1944 and 1975, when the U.S. Children's Bureau and the National Center for Social Statistics collected data voluntarily supplied by states and territories using data primarily drawn from court records. The number of states and territories participating varied each year, ranging from a low of 22 in 1944 to a high of 52 in the early 1960s. In 1975 with the dissolution of the NCSS, the reporting system ended.

Today, most statistics available about adoption are being gathered by private organizations, such as universities and foundations. The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 requires states to collect information about the adoptions of children in public foster care using the annual Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), but these are the only adoption-related statistics regularly reported by governments.

 

From: The Adoption History Project website www.uoregon.edu/~adoption/index.html Used With Permission.

 

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