Minnesota kicked off National Adoption Awareness Month on Sunday with an event for now-adopted foster children.
The annual celebration, which focused on child support, allowed former foster children to share their stories with current and prospective foster families. The event also celebrated the adoption of 540 foster children by Minnesota families in 2011.
During the event, current and prospective foster families enjoyed hearing stories from former foster children, and current foster children also had some fun. Goats, rabbits, chickens, sheep and even ponies were brought in from a local petting zoo, and the kids were given the chance to climb aboard a fire truck. Face-painting booths and video game stations also accompanied the event.
The annual event began 15 years ago, and has helped lower the number of foster children across the state. Over the last 15 years, the number of children waiting to be adopted has dropped from about 800 to 355, Human Services spokeswoman Beth Voigt said.
Similar trends are seen at a national level. In 2007, nearly 500,000 children were in foster care. In 2011, that number shrank to 400,540.