2017 Foster Care Numbers Up for Fifth Straight Year, Federal Data Released Today Shows

The number of youth in foster care in America rose for a fifth consecutive year in 2017, according to a federal report released today, though state data obtained by The Chronicle of Social Change suggests that the total may have plateaued or even decreased this year.

The annual report of the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), which draws data on youth in foster care from each state, found 442,995 youth living in foster care as of September 30, 2017. That total is 6,444 above last year’s AFCARS report, a 1.5 percent increase from 2016 and an 11.6 percent increase from 2012.

The number of entries into foster care declined slightly in 2017, from 272,952 in 2016 to 269,690. But the number of exits from foster care also declined slightly, from 248,856 in 2016 to 247,631…

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