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February 2010Vol. 11, No. 1Children's Bureau Releases New AFCARS Reports

The Children's Bureau has released two new reports from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) for fiscal year (FY) 2008. AFCARS reports are based on data submitted by the States, which are synthesized to provide national data on children in foster care and those adopted from the foster care system.

The AFCARS Report: Preliminary FY 2008 Estimates as of October 2009 (16) presents data from both the regular and revised foster care file submissions received by October 9, 2009, and data from adoption file submissions received by July 1, 2009. The report indicates that, on September 30, 2008:

  • There were 463,000 children in foster care, down from 491,000 in FY 2007.
  • The average age for the children in foster care was 9.7 years.
  • Average length of stay in foster care was 27.2 months.
  • The largest percentage of children (47 percent) were in a nonrelative foster family home.
  • Forty-nine percent had a case goal of reunification.
  • 123,000 were awaiting adoption, down from 132,000 in FY 2007.

In addition, during FY 2008, 273,000 children entered foster care and 285,000 children exited foster care. Also during FY 2008, 55,000 children were adopted from foster care, of whom 54 percent were adopted by a foster parent and 30 percent by a relative.

A second report, Trends in Foster Care and Adoption—FY 2002-FY 2008, uses a graph to show a variety of statistics for each year, including the number of children in care, the number who entered and exited care, the number waiting to be adopted and actually adopted, and those who were served by the public child welfare system.

Both reports are available for download from the Children's Bureau website: