Children may exit out-of-home care for several reasons, including reunification with parents or adoption. On average, children and youth are in an out-of-home placement for 1 to 2 years before exiting care.
These resources provide State and national data on the number of children in the child welfare system, trends in foster care caseloads, and well-being outcomes. These reports also include information across the out-of-home care continuum. For example, reports detail reasons why children and youth entered care, including their relationship to the perpetrator of child abuse or neglect. They also highlight the number of placement changes children and youth may experience, in addition to various reasons they exit care and rates of maltreatment in out-of-home care.
Because time is needed to compile, analyze, and publish data, statistical publications often are released 2 or more years after the time period being analyzed. Information Gateway makes every effort to ensure the resources provided are the most current statistics available.
Adoption and Foster Care Statistics
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau
Features reports using Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data. These resources present information about the experiences of children in foster care, including the reasons for their entrance, time spent in care, and placement setting by fiscal year.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
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A National Look at the Use of Congregate Care in Child Welfare
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau (2015)
Uses data to summarize the experience of use in congregate care in order to determine policy implications.
National Youth in Transition Database Data Brief #6
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau (2017)
Summarizes the demographic data and the financial and social outcomes of former-foster youth who recently transitioned out of care.
Child Welfare Outcomes 2016: Report to Congress
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau (2019)
Reports information on the performance of States on seven national outcome categories, including reducing the recurrence of child maltreatment, reducing the incidence of maltreatment in foster care, increasing permanency outcomes, reducing time in foster care to reunification or adoption, increasing placement stability, and reducing the placement of young children in group homes. This resource presents data on contextual factors and findings of analyses conducted across States.
National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), 1997-2014 and 2015-2022
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Presents a nationally representative, longitudinal survey of children and families who have been investigated by child protective services. It includes firsthand reports from children, parents, and other caregivers as well as reports from caseworkers, teachers, and data from administrative records.