ABOUT foster care

A system ready to be reimagined

Our future depends on our ability to give children the resources and opportunities they need to heal, develop, and thrive.

However, by almost every measure, we are failing to do this for the more than 400,000 children in our child welfare system each year. Their life outcomes are much worse than their peers. Millions of families continue to be unnecessarily harmed by a system that struggles to address systemic inequities and harmful practices.

Each year 7+ million children are reported to CPS for allegations of child maltreatment.
On any given day, more than 400,000 children are in foster care. 
While there is a perception that the child welfare system rescues children from horrific abuse, in reality, only 16% of children enter foster care as a result of physical or sexual abuse. The vast majority have been separated from their families as a result of “neglect” – a euphemism for poverty.
Child welfare, like many other systems, is also plagued with inequities: children in care are disproportionately from communities of color. Of every 1,000 white children in the US, 4.9 are in foster care, compared with 9.2 of every 1,000 Black children and 16.6 of every 1,000 American Indian and Alaska Native children.
number of children in foster care in the US by ethnicity per 1000 children
Each experience in the system is unique, but the trends are clear: entering the child welfare system meaningfully disrupts a child’s relationship with their family and their community, disrupting their opportunity to heal, develop, and thrive.
50% of the time siblings are separated
Former foster children are almost 2x as likely as U.S. war veterans to suffer from PTSD.

The societal costs are staggering.

Human trafficking
The 86% of us child trafficking survivors experienced foster care.
60% of young people arrested have had foster care involvement.
47% of foster youth do not graduate high school on time.
97% of older foster youth do not graduate college.
51% of young people without housing have experienced foster care.

We can fundamentally shift how the system works.

removing children from their homes
supporting families to keep them
pulling children from their communities
placing them with trusted adults
near to home
leaving older youth without supports once they leave the system
ensuring they have the same supports families traditionally provide