• September 2013
  • Vol. 14, No. 7

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New Child Welfare Outcomes, AFCARS Reports

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the twelfth 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 2008–2011: 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 2011, approximately 742,000 children were confirmed to be victims of child maltreatment. The national child victim rate continued its long-term downward trend, decreasing from 10.3 child victims per 1,000 children in fiscal year (FY) 2008 to 9.9 in FY 2011.
  • Nationally, there were approximately 407,000 children in foster care on the last day of 2011. Between 2002 and 2011, the number of children in care on the last day of the FY decreased by 23.3 percent from 523,000 to 401,000.
  • Seventy-two percent of States showed improved performance between 2008 and 2011 in the percentage of children in foster care for 17 months or longer on the first day of the year who were adopted by the end of the year.

Child Welfare Outcomes 2008–2011: Report to Congress, including State-by-State data tables, is available on the Children's Bureau website:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/cwo-08-11

Also released this month were new statistics from the Children's Bureau on the numbers of children involved with the child welfare system. Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Report #20 provides preliminary estimates for fiscal year (FY) 2012 and indicates that, as of July 2013:

  • There were 399,546 children in foster care.
  • The average age of children in foster care was 9.1 years.
  • The largest percentage of children (47 percent) in foster care were in foster family homes, followed by 28 percent in relative family placements.
  • The largest percentage of children (53 percent) had reunification with parents or primary caregivers as their placement goal.
  • Of the children adopted from foster care that year, 56 percent were adopted by a foster parent.

Find the latest AFCARS report on the Children's Bureau website:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/afcarsreport20.pdf (311 KB)

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