Data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) for 2015, the last year data is available, indicates that there was an increase in the number of kids coming into care and a decrease in the number of kids leaving care. In total, there are 427,910 children in foster care in 2015. This number has been steadily rising since a low of 397,301 children in 2012.
The number of kids whose parental rights have been terminated and are currently waiting for adoption remains roughly the same, at about 108,000.
Florida, Indiana, Georgia, Arizona and Minnesota experienced the largest increases in children in foster care, but the increase was across the country.
Why the Increase in Kids in Foster Care in 2015?
For the first time, information from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System broke down the reasons children were removed from their families. This data was not included in the past because Health and Human Services believed that states were not able to accurately determine and report the reason for removal. They now believe that this data is accurately being reported and included it on this years AFCARS report.
While neglect is by far the most common reason given for child removal, we have seen an increase in the percentage of kids being removed because their parents were abusing drugs (32%). This percentage has risen from 28.5 percent in 2012. Many child welfare experts agree that the increase in drug abuse amongst parents is the driving force behind the increase in children entering foster care. “The single biggest factor driving the numbers up is the substance abuse issues among parents,” said Melissa Rock, child welfare director at Advocates for Children and Youth, a Maryland foster care advocacy group.
Keep in mind that more than one reason can be listed as a reason for the child being removed.
Photo Credit: theloushe