Thursday, December 6, 2012

Facts About Foster Care

Too many children are trapped in foster care.
On any given day, there are approximately 424,000 children in out-of-home care in the United States.
During the last year about 680,000 children spent some time in out-of-home care in the United States.
1,200 children enter foster care each day remaining there on average for more than two years.
The number of children in foster care has declined nationally each year since 2005. More than half of the children in foster care live in just nine states: California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
Despite the common perception that most children in foster care are young children, the average age of the children in foster care is just over nine years old.
The median amount of time children spent in foster care increased between 2000 (12 months) and 2010 (15.4 months). On average, children in the American child welfare systems spend more than two years — 26.7 months — in foster care. Eleven percent of children in foster care have languished there for five or more years.
While most children in foster care live in family settings, a substantial minority — 16 percent — live in institutions and group homes.
States tend to be substantially more successful in finding permanent homes for the general foster care population (86.9 percent) than for children with a diagnosed disability (77.0 percent) and children who entered foster care when they were older than age 12 (69.1 percent).
Nearly half of all children in foster care have chronic medical problems.
About half of children under five years old in foster care have developmental delays.
Up to 80 percent of all children in foster care have serious emotional problems.
About 70,000 children living in foster care have had their biological parental rights permanently terminated. The assumption is that once parental rights have been terminated, the State should work as rapidly as possible to ensure that the child is safely in a new adoptive home and that the adoption is finalized. Yet of the children who were waiting to be adopted, the average length of stay in continuous foster care is three years.
In 2007, 8.6 percent of the children (over 30,000) in foster care aged out of the system; they exited the system not because they were reunited with their families or adopted, but simply because they turned eighteen. Research has shown that teens aging out of the system are highly likely as adults to experience homelessness, poor health, unemployment, incarceration, and other poor outcomes.
Forty-six percent of children from foster care in 2007 were in foster care for three or more years before they were emancipated.
Learn More
Learn about the role of child welfare systems in providing care and services for children in state custody.
Find out how Children’s Rights improves failing foster care system through our child welfare reform campaigns and policy advocacy.

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