APRIL 2024

State-by-state data

Casey Family Programs works in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and with tribal nations across North America to safely reduce the need for foster care and influence long-lasting improvements to the well-being of children, families and the communities where they live. From 2008 through 2020, Casey Family Programs has invested $193.1 million to support the work of the child welfare system, courts, policymakers and organizations that support children and families.

Explore below to learn more about individual state facts regarding children in foster care. This report is based on 2021 data.

Every child counts

We talk about a “foster care system,” but the goal is to create a child and family well-being system that prevents abuse and neglect and helps every child grow up safely in their own family whenever possible. Rather than waiting for maltreatment to occur, we can improve the safety of children who have come to the attention of child protective services by helping their families with evidence-based and promising practices.

Across America in 2021, approximately: 

Keeping children safe

Safety and effective response go hand in hand. Most children enter foster care due to neglect and other reasons – not because of physical or sexual abuse. Providing targeted and effective interventions as soon as possible, including by accessing new federal resources provided under the Family First Prevention Services Act and the Family First Transition Act, can safely allow children to remain with their families and thrive.

Reasons children enter foster care:

Repeat maltreatment:

*"Other” includes parental substance abuse, child substance abuse, child disability, child behavior problems, parent death, parent incarceration, caretaker inability to cope, relinquishment or inadequate housing.

Children under the age of 18 living in foster care:
(on September 30 of each year)

Everyone deserves a lifelong family

What happens to children who end up in foster care? Most are safely reunited with their own family or extended family. A significant number are adopted. Under the Family First Prevention Services Act, communities can more easily invest in helping more children to grow up in safe, stable families by providing appropriate and timely services prior to the need for removal, or after they return home or have been adopted.

Among children who exited foster care in 2021:

*"Other” includes transferred to another agency, ran away, died, or an unknown outcome. Numbers may not equal 100% due to rounding.

Progress across America and new opportunity

Since our founding in 1966, Casey Family Programs has invested more than $3.3 billion to help communities across America keep children safe, make families strong and build Communities of Hope.

We partner with child welfare agencies, policymakers, families and community organizations in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and with tribal nations and the federal government on child welfare policies and practices to support long-lasting improvements to the safety and success of children, families and the communities where they live. We believe every child deserves a safe, strong and permanent family.

Casey Family Programs operates 15 offices across the United States to provide and improve — and ultimately prevent the need for — foster care.

We believe that by working together, we can create a nation where Communities of Hope provide the support and opportunities that children and families need to thrive. It is critical that Congress and the federal government continue to enable states to make effective investments that address the needs of children and their families, including providing an array of family-strengthening interventions to prevent child abuse and neglect from happening in the first place.

Casey Family Programs is committed to building a 21st century child and family well-being system that ensures all children are safe and thriving in strong families. The Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123) and the Family First Transition Act (P.L. 116-94) are critical tools that provide states and tribes the ability to target federal resources into an array of prevention and early intervention services to keep children safe, strengthen families and reduce the need for foster care whenever it is safe to do so.

1. Data are for children under age 18. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. AFCARS and NCANDS 2005-2022 [Dataset]. Available from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect Web, Cornell University: https://www.ndacan.acf.hhs.gov/. The receiver of the original data (the Archive, Cornell University) bears no responsibility for the analyses or interpretations presented here.

Check with state officials for the most up-to-date data.