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Providing resources, well-being and safety for families and children.

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Foster Care

The Federal definition states that Foster Care means 24-hour substitute care for children placed away from their parents or guardians and for whom the State agency has placement and care responsibility. (8) On any given day in the United States, there are approximately 402,000 children living in foster care. These children range in age from 0 to 21, and on average, will remain in state care for nearly two years. (6) In many cases, sibling groups are separated, and children move from placement to placement and experience no sense of permanency while in the dependency system.

National Foster Care Statistics:

  • Each year, more than 600,000 children experience foster care in the United States. In 2013, children spent a mean of 21.8 months in foster care. (7)(6)

  • 8% of children in foster care have languished there for five or more years. (6)

  • 75% of children in foster care are working below grade level in school. (3)

  • 50% will never graduate from high school or obtain GED. (5)

  • Only 15% of foster children will attend college, and fewer than 3% will earn a college degree. (2)(3)

  • 65% of alumni (adults formerly in foster care) experienced seven or more school changes (K-12). (5)

  • Over 1/3 of all foster teen boys will be incarcerated before age 21. (4)

  • 25% of foster children experience PTSD (comparable to the rate of U.S. war veterans), and tend to suffer high rates of debilitating depression and low self-esteem. (2)(5)

  • After “aging out,” 25% of foster teens will become homeless. (1)

  • In 2013, more than 23,000 young people aged out of foster care without permanent families. (6)

  • Roughly 55% of children living in foster care who are waiting to be adopted will have three or more placements, and 33% of children change elementary schools five or more times. (9)

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”


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