Every two minutes, a child or youth enters foster care.


young people in foster care

Represents # on any given day.  Just over of 606,000 young people will experience foster care throughout a year (with children and youth coming into and going from the system).

There has been a big effort to reduce the number of children who uneccessarily enter foster care. Instead, the approach has been to fix problems (such as those related to poverty) that might exist in their family.

Reason for Entering Foster Care

8 yrs old

Average age


compared to 7.2% in general population

Race of Young People in Foster Care

How young people leave foster care

Runaway and death of child = less than 1%


Average number of months spent in foster care


Children and youth awaiting awaiting adoption


Young adults who age out of foster care each year

Sources of Data

The above information was sourced from the following sources, where you can take an even deeper dive into the data. 

Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) FY 2021 data

National Youth in Transition Database