513,000 children were in the U.S. foster care system on September 30, 2005. Most children are placed temporarily in foster care due to parental abuse or neglect.
Average Age: 10.0 years
|6% ||< 1 year |
|26% ||1-5 years |
|20% ||6-10 years |
|28% ||11-15 years |
|18% ||16-18 years |
|2% ||>19 years |
Race and Ethnicity:
As a percentage, there are more children of color in the foster care system than in the general U.S. population. However, child abuse and neglect occur at about the same rate in all racial/ethnic groups.
| ||Race/Ethnicity ||In out-of-home care ||In general population |
| ||Black (non-Hispanic) ||32% ||15% |
| ||White (non-Hispanic) ||41% ||61% |
| ||Hispanic ||18% ||17% |
| ||Am. Indian/Alaska Native (non-Hispanic) ||2% ||1% |
| ||Asian/Pacific Islander (non-Hispanic) ||1% ||3% |
| ||Unknown ||2% ||N/A |
| ||2 or More Races (non-Hispanic) ||3% ||4% |
Length of Stay
For the children in foster care on September 30, 2005, the average amount of time they had been in the system was 28.6 months. Half of those leaving care that year had been away from home for a year or longer. 54% of the young people leaving the system were reunified with their birth parents or primary caregivers.