The number of children and youth in foster care nationally rose for the fifth consecutive year, to 443,000, in federal fiscal year (FY) 2017. While still below the high of 567,000 in FY 1999, the FY 2017 number is a 1.5 percent increase from FY 2016 and a 12 percent increase from FY 2012, when the number of children and youth in care began rising after more than 10 years of decline. At the state level, Child Trends’ analysis of the newly released Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System (AFCARS) data shows that most states (39) experienced an increase from FY 2016 in the rate of children and young people in foster care. These rates range from a low of 2.5 per 1,000 children in Virginia to a high of 17.8 per 1,000 in West Virginia.
The map below shows the number and rate of children ages 17 and younger in foster care for every state, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.