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U.S. Children’s Bureau Releases New Report on Trends in Foster Care and Adoption

8/21/2012

In July, the U.S. Children's Bureau posted new statistics on the numbers of children involved with the child welfare system. The new reports show a substantial decline in the number of children in foster care since 2002.

The updated Trends in Foster Care and Adoption (PDF – 371KB) report, which compiles data from fiscal years 2002-11, shows a substantial decline in the number of children in foster care, as well as a decline in the number of children served. The number of children served declined from 800,000 in 2002 to 646,000 in 2011. Additionally, 2011 saw the lowest number of foster care entries (252,000) since collecting data through the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System.

The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Report #19 (PDF – 300KB) provides preliminary estimates for fiscal year 2011 and indicates that, as of September 30, 2011:

  • There were 400,540 children in foster care
  • There were 104,236 children waiting to be adopted
  • The average age of children in foster care was 9.3 years
  • The largest percentage of children (47 percent) in foster care were in non-relative foster family homes, followed by 27 percent in relative foster family homes
  • The largest percentage of children (52 percent) had reunification with parents or primary caregivers as their placement goal
  • Of the children in foster care, 41 percent were Caucasian, 27 percent were African American, and 21 percent were Hispanic

The Children’s Bureau website has more on the latest research in adoption and foster care statistics.

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