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.
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%
References & Sources
- Lifelong Impact of Adoption.
- Impact of Adoption on Adopted Persons.
- 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.
- US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, The Physical & Mental Health of Children in Foster Care.
- Child Welfare Information Gateway. Supporting Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care.
- Institute for Research on Poverty. What We Know About the Effects of Foster Care.
- Adoption and the effect on children’s development, Dana E.Johnson.
- ADOPTION AND FOSTER CARE ANALYSIS AND REPORTING SYSTEM #24 | OCTOBER 2017
- CHILD WELFARE OUTCOMES 2009-2012 REPORT TO CONGRESS