Last week, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), within the Department of Health and Human Services, released new data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) for fiscal year 2015. This data reflects a one-day snapshot total of youth in foster care in the United States from September 30, 2015, in addition to demographic information, type of placement and case plan goal, and entry and discharge information for children who entered and exited foster care throughout the fiscal year.
Per the report, there were 437,910 children and youth in foster care in 2015, a 3.4 percent increase from 2014 and the third year in a row in which numbers increased from the previous year. These recent increases follow a fourteen-year period of decline. Additionally, 71 percent of states reported an increase in the numbers of children entering foster care in the past year, with the five largest reports coming from Florida, Indiana, Georgia, Arizona, and Minnesota.
ACF stated in a press release that the reason for the increase may be contributed to increased parental substance use, as removal due to parental substance use increased 13 percent from 2012 to 2015. The press release called for increased collaboration across service providers and community leaders to address this need, and noted the Children’s Bureau’s regional partnership grants program as one such program that seeks to improve the safety, permanency and well-being of children who have been removed from their homes because of parental substance abuse.
To review the data in its entirety, you can find the report here.
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