AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – New state figures show more children are leaving foster care for safe, permanent homes than are entering the child welfare system, as adoptions surged past 6,000 for the first time, according to Child Protective Services.

“Additional resources combined with a tenacious work ethic have led to unprecedented success for the DFPS this year,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “Texas is better because a record number of children have been adopted in 2019 and are experiencing the joy of a loving home this Christmas season. Equally impressive is the increase in the number of children who are reunited with family. The marked improvements demonstrated by DFPS are the result of the passion and commitment by DFPS staff.”

More than 20,000 children left Texas foster care, including more than 6,000 who were adopted, Fiscal Year 2019 data shows.

More than half of the adoptions – 3,095 – were by relatives, also a new record for CPS, according to a Texas Department of Family and Protective Services news release Wednesday.

The number of children leaving foster care outnumbered the number entering care by more than 1,700 children, a trend the state hopes will continue.

“This is certainly great news, and affirmation that our year-round adoption efforts are paying off,” said Kristene Blackstone, CPS Associate Commissioner. “And in many cases we are reunifying these children with their families.”

While the number of children entering the state’s care has dropped in recent years, to 18,615 in FY 2019, the number of adoptions has steadily increased, up by 25% in the last decade.

As National Adoption Month wrapped up Thanksgiving weekend, more than 400 children and youth in Texas found permanent homes during Texas’ busiest month for adoptions.

National Adoption Day in Fort Worth (CBS 11)

But as Commissioner Blackstone said, the need for permanent homes is year-round, and with Christmas only a few weeks away she hopes more foster children will benefit from the season’s good will.

“November is our busiest adoption month, by far, but there is nothing more joyful than an adoption at Christmastime,” she said.