See what's going on in your state:


Foster care runs a bit differently in every state.

... And sometimes foster care can vary from county-to-county. This is because the federal (USA) government only provides over all guidelines about the child welfare system, and states are then allowed to create policies and programs that will work best for the youth in their state. 

Example: Extended foster care

Youth legally become an adult at age 18. The federal government has allowed states to use federal funding to allow youth to stay in foster care beyond age 18 (this is called extended foster care). Studies show the longer a young adult stays in foster care, they increase their odds for success. States, however, get to choose how long a young people are entitled to remain in foster care in their state. A few examples of extended foster care age limits:*


Up to age 18


Up to age 21


Up to age 22

New Hampshire

Up to age 23


Up to age 26

* Some states have requirements — such as school attendance — for youth to remain in foster care beyond a specific age. See details in Extension of Foster Care Beyond Age 18 from the Child Welfare Gateway.