513,000 children were in the U.S. foster care system on September 30, 2005. Most children are placed temporarily in foster care due to parental abuse or neglect.
Average Age: 10.0 years
6% < 1 year
26% 1-5 years
20% 6-10 years
28% 11-15 years
18% 16-18 years
2% >19 years
Race and Ethnicity:
As a percentage, there are more children of color in the foster care system than in the general U.S. population. However, child abuse and neglect occur at about the same rate in all racial/ethnic groups.
|Race/Ethnicity||Out-of-home care population||General population|
|American Indian/Alaska Native (non-Hispanic)||2%||1%|
|Asian/Pacific Islander (non-Hispanic)||1%||3%|
|2 or more Races (non-Hispanic)||3%||4%|
Length of Stay: For the children in foster care on September 30, 2005, the average amount of time they had been in the system was 28.6 months. Half of those leaving care that year had been away from home for a year or longer. 54% of the young people leaving the system were reunified with their birth parents or primary caregivers.
In 2004, there was a total of 153,000 licensed/certified/approved kinship and non-relative foster homes nationwide. In 2005, 24% of youth living foster care were residing with their relatives.
Adoptions: In 2005, 60% of adopted children were adopted by their foster parent(s). The “foster parent” category excludes anyone identified as a relative of the child. 25% of children adopted in FY 2005 were adopted by a relative. A “relative” includes a step-parent or other relative of the child.
Siblings and Extended Families:
Over 2 million American children live with grandparents or other relatives because their parents cannot care for them. When relatives provide foster care (known as kinship care), siblings can often stay together. Kinship care also improves stability by keeping displaced children closer to their extended families, their neighborhoods, and their schools.