Foster Care

50 Foster Care Statistics for 2023

To understand how important foster care is, stats can help. Check out these 50 foster care statistics for 2023.

Foster care is an important option for children.. No matter their situation, foster care allows children to receive the care and support they may need during an extremely challenging time.

Most of us are not aware what an important resource foster care is and the impact it has on children everywhere. Facts and statistics about the number of children in foster care help us understand just how needed and prevalent foster care is.

Not only that, but they also help organizations understand how to provide the best possible care to children in need and provide answers to common questions.

Here are 50 foster care statistics for 2023. 

How Many Children Are in Foster Care?

The big question that people always ask is how many children are in foster care at any given time, and the answer may surprise you.

  • This number shifts significantly over the years — in 2018, it was as high as 437,000 children. (Statista)
  • Of those, the average age is around eight years old. (AdoptUSKids)
  • Genders are almost evenly split — 51% are boys, and 49% are girls. (AFCARS Report)
  • However, children in care come from many different age groups. They can be anywhere from infants to young adults at 20 years old. (Kids Count Data Center)

Foster Care Statistics: Demographics

Foster care helps children from all demographics lead a fulfilling life full of love and care. Here are some foster care statistics concerning race and demographics courtesy of the AFCARS Report:

  • 22% of foster children are Hispanic 
  • 2% are American Indian or Alaskan Native
  • 1% are Asian
  • 22% are Black or African American
  • 43% are White
  • 8% are mixed

Number of Foster Children By State

The number of foster children varies greatly by state — we won’t include every state, but we’ll list some of the more prominent ones to show the differences. These stats are courtesy of The Imprint.

Here are the 10 states with the most children in foster care as of 2022:

  • California: 46,214
  • Florida: 21,808
  • Texas: 21,691
  • Illinois: 20,815
  • Ohio: 15,032
  • New York: 14,489
  • Missouri: 14,014
  • Arizona: 13,012
  • Pennsylvania: 12,930
  • Georgia: 11,390

On the other hand, compare these to some of the states with far fewer children in foster care:

  • Wyoming has 917
  • Washington, D.C. has 603
  • Delaware has the fewest children in foster care with just 427

As you can see, there’s a large difference between the top and bottom states: California and Delaware. 

How Many Kids Age Out of Foster Care?

Unfortunately, in some cases, foster children “age out” of foster care — in other words, they aren’t reunited with their family (or an adoptive family). 

Here are some of those findings:

How Long Do Foster Children Remain in Foster Care?

The goal of foster care is to reunite children with their families, if possible. If not, then foster care adoption is the next solution. 

Here are some stats on the length of foster care provided by the AFCARS Report:

  • 4% stay for less than a month
  • 19% stay for 1-5 months
  • 19% stay for 6-11 months
  • 14% stay for 12-17 months
  • 12% stay for 18-23 months
  • 9% stay for 24-29 months
  • 6% stay for 30-35 months
  • 12% stay for 3-4 years
  • 6% stay for 5 years or more
  • On average, children stay in foster care for just over 21 months 

Foster Care Adoption Statistics

In cases where reuniting a child with their biological parents isn’t possible, the goal is to find an adoptive family.

So, what do the stats say about foster care adoption?

  • There were 54,240 children adopted from foster care in 2021. This number is down 6% from 2020, and 18% from 2019. (National Council For Adoption)
    • Of those, 55% were adopted by their foster parents (CCAI)
    • 34% were adopted by a relative
    • 29% were 9 years old or older 
  • There are 114,000 children in foster care eligible for adoption. (Adoption Network)
  • Around 25% of children cannot be reunited with their birth parents. (Creating a Family)

How Many Licensed Foster Homes Are Out There?

Foster care can’t work without selfless people volunteering to provide love and care. Becoming a foster parent is no small feat, and children in care need them to lead a fulfilling life and thrive in the future.

  • As of 2020, there were 214,421 licensed foster homes in the US. (Foster VA)
  • Of the 50 states, California has the most licensed foster homes, with 37,870 as of 2022. (The Imprint)
  • Conversely, Delaware has the least, with just 397. 

Foster Care Education Statistics

In many cases, being in foster care can affect the education of a child. Here’s what the statistics say about foster care education.

According to NFYI:

  • Only 3-4% of foster children obtain a four year degree
  • Between 2-6% of foster children obtain a two year degree
  • Only 50% of foster children complete high school
  • Over 40% of foster children experience educational difficulties

Providing a space that allows children to focus on their education is important. Helping them overcome these barriers and thrive in the future is part of being an amazing foster parent! 

Learn How Mentor Foster Care Helps Foster Children and Parents Thrive

Mentor Foster Care, a part of Sevita’s companies, is dedicated to helping foster children lead a fulfilling life. Our support for foster parents allows them to provide a home filled with love and care. 

Discover more about how foster care services provided by Mentor Foster Care connect kids in care with their future foster families! 

Learn About Our Services

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