The Latest in Foster Care Data - AFCARS

written by naehblog
August 30, 2012

An estimated 400,540 children and youth were in foster care on September 30, 2011, according to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) preliminary report released July, 2012. AFCARS is a child welfare federal reporting system that collects case-level information on all children in foster care for whom state agencies are responsible for placement, care or supervision.

By and large, the number of children and youth in foster care has decreased over the years, as has the amount of time they spend in the system. However, challenges remain for older youth emancipating from foster care, who may not receive the proper tools and opportunities to succeed through the case planning process. Homelessness is a particular horrific outcome for youth who don’t receive strategic and thoughtful case planning.

Selected AFCARS Data                                   (FC = Foster Care)

Fiscal   Year  (Total # of Children & Youth   in FC)

# of Youth   Ages 12-20 in FC

# of Youth   in Supervised Independent Living

# of Youth   w/ Case Goal of  Long Term FC

# of Youth   w/ Case Goal of Emancipation

# of   Children & Youth in FC over 2 Years*

# of Youth   Who Exited FC  at the age of 17 and   Older

FY2009

(421,350)

 

174,914

4,690

32,361

26,547

83,138

46,806

FY2010

(406,412)

162,401

4,050

24,697

24,697

75,394

49,980

FY2011

(400,540)

153,310

3,868

22,744

20,635

68,889

43,438

*Youth who exited foster care

An estimated 20-25 percent of the 26,286 youth who exited foster care in FY2011 will experience at least one night of homelessness. For a youth exiting foster care, the initial homeless episode usually doesn’t occur immediately after leaving foster care, but in the months or even years that follow. Through better case planning, increased housing options, and employment opportunities, youth emancipating from foster care can avoid any episode of homelessness.

Background

AFCARS is a child welfare federal reporting system that collects case level information on all children in foster care for whom State agencies are responsible for placement, care or supervision. Some of the information reported in AFCARS includes demographic information on the child, the number of removals from a placement a child has experienced, the number of placements in the current removal episode, as well as the current type of placement such as foster family or adoptive placement. Moreover, AFCARS captures information about children and youth exiting foster care such as their age, race, length of time in care, and reason for their discharge.