In the U.S. 400,540 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system. 115,000 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 40% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted. Source: AFCARS Report, No. 19

Around the world, there are an estimated 153 million orphans who have lost one parent. There are 17,900,000 orphans who have lost both parents and are living in orphanages or on the streets and lack the care and attention required for healthy development. These children are at risk for disease, malnutrition, and death. Source: UNICEF and Childinfo

According to the U.S. State Department, U.S. families adopted more than 9,000 children in 2011. Last year, Americans adopted the highest number of children from China followed by Ethiopia, Russia, South Korea, and Ukraine. Source: United States State Department 

No child under three years of age should be placed in institutional care without a parent or primary caregiver. This is based on results from 32 European countries, including nine in-depth country studies, which considered the “risk of harm in terms of attachment disorder, developmental delay and neural atrophy in the developing brain." Source: Mapping the Number and Characteristics of Children Under Three in Institutions Across Europe at Risk of Harm: Executive Summary 

Children raised in orphanages have an IQ 20 points lower than their peers in foster care, according to a meta-analysis of 75 studies (more than 3,800 children in 19 countries). This shows the need for children to be raised in families, not in institutions. Source: IQ of Children Growing Up in Children's Homes A Meta-Analysis on IQ Delays in Orphanages 

Each year, over 27,000 youth “age out” of foster care without the emotional and financial support necessary to succeed. This number has steadily risen over the past decade. Nearly 40% had been homeless or couch surfed, nearly 60% of young men had been convicted of a crime, and only 48% were employed. 75% of women and 33% of men receive government benefits to meet basic needs. 50% of all youth who aged out were involved in substance use and 17% of the females were pregnant. Source: Fostering Connections

Nearly 25% of youth aging out did not have a high school diploma or GED, and a mere 6% had finished a two- or four-year degree after aging out of foster care. One study shows 70% of all youth in foster care have the desire to attend college. Source: Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth