Did You Know?

  • 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.


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.

Foster Care Statistics At A Glance

We thank all the amazing foster care parents and caregivers who are protecting our kids and keeping them safe every single day.

Types of Child Abuse

Child Neglect
Child Neglect is Child Abuse - American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children
Physical Abuse
Emotional Abuse
Sexual Abuse
Sexual Child Abuse - American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children
Adverse Childhood Experiences
Adverse-Childhood-Experiences-ACEs Child Abuse American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children
Shaken Baby Syndrome
Shaken Baby Syndrome American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children
Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence is Child Abuse American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children
Trafficking & Exploitation
Trafficking and Child Exploitation American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children

Click for References & Sources

    1. The Impact of Placement Stability on Behavioral Well-being for Children in Foster Care. David M. Rubin, Amanda L.R. O’Reilly, Xianqun Luan, A. Russell Localio.
    2. US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, The Physical & Mental Health of Children in Foster Care.
    3. Child Welfare Information Gateway. Supporting Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care.
    4. Institute for Research on Poverty. What We Know About the Effects of Foster Care. Retrieved From:
    5. Adoption and the effect on children’s development, Dana E.Johnson.
    6. Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System #24 | October 2017
    7. Child Welfare Outcomes 2009-2012 Report to Congress

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