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Foster Care Statistics You Should Know

Updated: Oct 5, 2023


There are more than 391,000 children and teens in foster care in the United States, as of June 2022.

The average age of a child in foster care is 8 years old.

Up to 80% of children and teens in foster care experience significant mental health issues.

The average length of time that a child is in foster care is 21.7 months.

When looking at the circumstances associated with a child's removal from their home, 63% of cases included neglect and 36% of cases included parental drug abuse.


Statistics are only helpful when we think about their implications and make decisions based on what they tell us. As someone with almost a decade of experience working in the mental health field, one of the most significant takeaways I gain from this data is the importance of psychoeducation for foster parents.

Understanding mental health and mental illness will equip parents to (1) care for their kids well and (2) cope with their own stresses and griefs that foster care can bring. If children with significant mental health challenges are living with foster parents for almost 2 years on average, we know that the integration of healthy coping skills and management of symptoms is going to be very important for those families to function.

Knowing that more than half of children are removed due to circumstances involving neglect, we can prioritize our efforts as foster parents and foster care advocates on alleviating the impacts of neglect for these children. This will involve filling in gaps - physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

We can all do something to impact these statistics for the better!

Emily | Respite Foster Mom


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