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September 2023Vol. 24, No. 7Using Updated State-Level Data to Understand U.S. Child Welfare

Child Trends recently updated its comprehensive child welfare resource providing state-level data intended to represent and explain the condition of child welfare in the United States. Data span various aspects of the child welfare system and can be used to help policymakers understand how many children and youth come in contact with the child welfare system and why.

The interactive tool allows users to select a state and one of five categories: child maltreatment, foster care, kinship care, permanency, and older youth. Within each category, the resource features several data points, some of which are presented visually using graphics. The following are some of the statistics included:

  • Number and rate of maltreated children and children entering foster care
  • Demographics
  • Postresponse services
  • Reasons for entering foster care
  • Number of children placed with relatives
  • Number of children exiting foster care to guardianship
  • Number of children adopted from foster care by relatives
  • Funding for guardianship
  • Placement stability among children exiting to permanency
  • Length of stay in foster care
  • Reason for entering care among older youth

In addition to the interactive data presentations, Child Trends developed a companion guide and glossary to accompany the resource. The companion guide includes recommendations for ways that policymakers, advocates, researchers, and reporters can use the resource, as well as descriptions of the various data sources used.

Explore State-Level Data for Understanding Child Welfare in the United States on the Child Trends website for more information.