For 31 days each year, the nation’s attention shifts to focus on the stories of children and families whose lives have been affected by foster care.
The pivot is intentional — and dates back to 1988 when President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation establishing May as National Foster Care Month. Today, this precedent endures. It recognizes the needs of kids and youth in foster care and celebrates the many supporters who are making a powerful and positive difference in their lives.
This May, in honor of National Foster Care Month, the Annie E. Casey Foundation is sharing select facts about foster care in America. The latest research tells us that:
- A child enters foster care every two minutes.
- More than 430,000 children and youth are in foster care on any given day.
- Most kids in care — 61% — enter the system due to neglect.
- The average child in care is about 8 years old.
- Children spend, on average, 20 months in care.
- Kids in care are predominantly white (44%) or African-American (23%).
- One in every five kids in care is Hispanic or Latino (of any race).
- More than 117,000 children and youth are waiting to be adopted.
- Nearly half — 45% — of kids in care joined a household of non-relatives for their most recent placement.
- More than half — 55% — of kids in care are seeking to reunite with their main parent or caretaker, according to their care plan goal.
- Former foster children are almost twice as likely as combat veterans to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
For thousands of Americans, the focus on foster care does not fade with the month of May. To help support three groups who navigate the system every day — kids in care, foster parents and child welfare professionals — the Casey Foundation has compiled lists of relevant key resources.
See the resource lists for: