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December/January 2015Vol. 15, No. 11Child Welfare Outcomes 2009-2012 Report Released

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the newest in a series of reports designed to inform Congress, the States, and the public about State performance on delivering child welfare services. Child Welfare Outcomes 2009–2012: Report to Congress provides information about State performance on seven national child welfare outcomes related to the safety, permanency, and well-being of children involved in the child welfare system.

Data come from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) and the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), and the report includes some data analyses across States.

Highlights of the recent report show:

  • In 2012, there were approximately 679,000 instances of confirmed child maltreatment. While the national child victim rate continued its decrease from 2009 to 2011, there was no change between 2011 and 2012.
  • Nationally, there were approximately 397,000 children in foster care on the last day of 2012. Between 2002 and 2012, the number of children in care on the last day of the fiscal year decreased by 24.2 percent, from 524,000 to 397,000.
  • Nationally, 235,000 children exited foster care in 2012. Of these children, 207,000 (87 percent) were discharged to a permanent home (i.e., reunification, adoption, or legal guardianship).
  • A higher percentage of States demonstrated an improvement in performance with regard to recurrence of child maltreatment (43 percent) than showed a decline in performance (35 percent).
  • Between 2009 and 2012, State performance on the two safety-related outcome measures substantially improved.

Child Welfare Outcomes 2009–2012: Report to Congress, including State-by-State data tables, is available on the Children's Bureau website at