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February 2018Vol. 19, No. 1Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System Report #24

The Children's Bureau has posted the most recent annual report providing preliminary estimates of Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data for fiscal year (FY) 2016. This report reflects all FY 2016 AFCARS data received as of October 20, 2017, and indicates that, as of September 30, 2016:

  • There were 437,465 children in foster care.
  • There were 117,794 children waiting to be adopted.
  • There were 20,532 children who were emancipated upon exiting foster care.
  • The median age of children in foster care was 7.8 years.
  • The two most frequent placement settings for children in foster care were in nonrelative foster family homes (45 percent) and relative foster family homes (32 percent).
  • The most common placement goal was reunification with parents or primary caregivers (55 percent).
  • Of the children in foster care, 44 percent were White, 23 percent were Black, and 21 percent were Hispanic.

The Children's Bureau also issued a corresponding trends report. Between FY 2007 and FY 2012, the number of children in foster care declined nearly 19 percent to 397,000, but by FY 2016 the number of children in foster care had increased to 437,000. Trends for children entering the system follow a similar pattern.

AFCARS Report #24 is available at

Trends in Foster Care and Adoption FY 2007-FY 2016 is available at (105 KB).