Native American and Alaska Native children 2020 data overview

Although improvements have been gradual, Native American/Alaska Native children are being placed more frequently with kin or with non-relatives where at least one caregiver is of the same race as the child.  The percent of Native American/Alaska Native children in care who are placed with kin has increased from 27 percent in 2010 to 38 percent in 2020. Also significant, the rate of Native American/Alaska Native children being placed into care has been on the decline the past few years, from a peak of 15.9 children per 1000 in 2017, to 15.0 per 1000 in 2020. This rate is still much higher than the 10.4 per 1000 rate of Native children being placed in care in 2010.

The data provided is derived using the 2020 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data. It is difficult to provide a complete picture of outcomes in ICWA cases because existing federal data may be incomplete and over- or under-inclusive. The data capture only whether a state identified a child as being American Indian or Alaska Native, not whether a child’s case was governed by ICWA.

Download the full overview of American Indian/Alaska Native children in child welfare.