Get the Facts: Foster Care & Adoption
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Foster Care Statistics
Over 437,000 children and youth are in foster care.
Neglect is the #1 reason children are removed from the home
Children in foster care wait 3-4 years or more to be adopted.
118,000 children and youth in America are waiting to be adopted.
More Foster Care Stats
- Over 437,000 children and youth are in foster care.
- 45% of foster children live in non-relative foster family homes.
- 32% of foster children live in relative foster family homes.
- 23% of foster children live in institutions, group homes, trial and pre-adoptive homes.
- 118,000 children and youth in America are waiting to be adopted.
- Children in foster care wait 3-4 years or more to be adopted.
- On average, a child can spend almost 12 to 20 months in foster care.
- 10% of foster children spend more than 5 years in foster care.
- The average age of a foster child entering foster care is 7 to 8 years old.
- The average age of a foster child exiting foster care is 7 to 9 years old.
- 51% of children in foster care reunify with their parents or primary caregivers.
- 52% of foster children are adopted by a foster parent.
- More boys are in the foster care system than girls (52% to 48%).
- 44% of foster children are White, 23% African American, 21% Hispanic.
- 26% of children entering foster care are under the age of one.
- About 22% of youth in foster care are age 13 or older.
- 61% of children removed from their home due to abusive neglect.
- 34% of children removed from their homes due to parental drug abuse.
- 14% of children removed due to the inability of the caregiver to cope.
- 12% of children removed from their home due to physical abuse.
WHY ARE CHILDREN REMOVED
FROM THEIR HOMES?
Foster children usually enter the foster care system due to abuse and trauma in their home.
Neglect is the #1 reason children are removed, followed by parental drug use.
This displacement causes a unique set of emotional, social and academic challenges for them. They often experience grief, guilt, anger, sadness, loneliness, anxiety, low self-esteem, mental and physical health issues.
Common Reasons for Removal
- Neglect 61% 61%
- Parent Drug Abuse 34% 34%
- Caretaker Inability to Cope 14% 14%
- Physical Abuse 12% 12%
- Child Behavior Problem 11% 11%
- Inadequate Housing 10% 10%
- Parent Incarceration 8% 8%
- Parent Alcohol Abuse 6% 6%
- Abandonment 5% 5%
- Sexual Abuse 4% 4%
- Child Drug Abuse 2% 2%
- Child Disability 2% 2%
- Relinquishment 1% 1%
- Parent Death 1% 1%
- Child Alcohol Abuse 1% 1%
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF FOSTER CARE
- 20,500 youth are emancipated from foster care without reunifying with their families, or being adopted.
- Of youth who age out of foster care, 1/4 are incarcerated within 2 years and only 1/2 graduate from high school.
- Children and adolescents with foster care experience are diagnosed with PTSD at twice the rate of U.S. war veterans.