In federal fiscal year (FY) 2017, the rate of children entering foster care due to parental drug abuse rose for the sixth consecutive year to 131 per 100,000 children nationally—a 5 percent increase from the previous fiscal year and a 53 percent increase since FY 2007. Of the 268,212 children under age 18 removed from their families in FY 2017, 96,400 (36 percent) had parental drug abuse listed as a reason for their removal.
Child Trends’ analysis of FY 2016 and FY 2017 data from the Adoption and Foster Care Reporting System (AFCARS) also shows that most states (35) experienced an increase in both the number and rate of children entering foster care due to parental drug abuse.
Six states and territories—Puerto Rico, Wyoming, New York, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Ohio—saw the largest rate increases; New Hampshire, Louisiana, Arizona, and the District of Columbia had the largest decreases. However, foster care entry rates may increase for reasons other than increases in parental drug abuse. For example, some states may have implemented new policies or practices that help them better identify children in need of child welfare services, resulting in a larger number of children coming into care due to parental drug abuse.