• February 2015
  • Vol. 16, No. 1

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Demographic Trends Among Children in Foster Care in Alaska

A November 2014 publication from the Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), reports on the demographics—specifically, age, gender, race, and geographic location—of children in foster care in Alaska between 2006 and 2013. Trends in Age, Gender, and Ethnicity Among Children in Foster Care in Alaska presents an analysis of data from the Office of Children's Services, Alaska's State child protection agency.

A summary of the authors' findings, which are detailed in the report, follows:

  • Despite the nationwide decline of children in foster care between 2002 and 2012, the number of children in foster care in Alaska remained static, with approximately 2,000 children in care in any given month between 2006 and 2013.
  • During the study period, children in Alaska were twice as likely as children nationwide to be in foster care.
  • The population of children age 9 and younger in foster care in Alaska grew from 57 percent in 2006 to 65 percent in 2013, and toddlers age 4 and younger made up the largest group, constituting over a third of all foster children in Alaska in 2013.
  • Children in the Western region of Alaska were almost twice as likely as children in other regions to be in foster care.
  • Alaska Native children make up about 20 percent of all children in the State but accounted for about 60 percent of all children in foster care from 2006 through 2013.
  • In 2013, Alaska Native children were seven times more likely than White children to be in foster care in Alaska; 30 of every 1,000 Alaska Native children were in foster care.

Following the analysis of demographic data, the authors include a discussion section, which underscores the importance of this information for State policymakers working to improve services and outcomes for abused and neglected children. The discussion section also highlights questions raised by data analysis, including areas where additional research and data are needed to better serve and protect children and youth in foster care in Alaska.

Trends in Age, Gender, and Ethnicity Among Children in Foster Care in Alaska, by Diwakar Vadapalli, Virgene Hanna, and Jessica Passini, is available on the UAA website at http://www.iser.uaa.alaska.edu/Publications/2014_12-TrendsInAgeGenderAndEthnicityAmongFosterChildrenInAlaska.pdf (796 KB).
 

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