State-level data for understanding child welfare in the United States

Publication Date:

Feb 26, 2019

High-quality data can provide public officials and advocates with crucial details about the populations they serve. State-level data for understanding child welfare in the United States is a comprehensive resource, including easy-to-use interactive features, that provides state and national data on child maltreatment, foster care, kinship caregiving, and adoption. This resource compiles critical data from a variety of sources on children, youth, and families who came in contact with the child welfare system in federal fiscal year (FY) 2017.

These data are important because they help policymakers understand how many children and youth came in contact with the child welfare system, and why. States can also use this information to ensure their child welfare systems support the safety, stability, and well-being of all families in their state.

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State-level data for understanding
child welfare in the United States

Foster Care

Federal Fiscal Year 2017

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Children are placed in foster care when a child protective services worker and court have determined it is not safe for them to remain home. Many children are traumatized by displacement from their family and disruption of their usual routine and familiar surroundings. Children in foster care need strong relationships with caring adults, a network of social support, and services to cope with the challenging circumstances of home removal.

Source, unless specified otherwise: This information is from the federal Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) and represents the federal fiscal year 2017 reporting period (October 1, 2016 – September 30, 2017). Unless otherwise noted, for each calculation, children who were missing data on the relevant indicator were excluded from analyses.

Notes:

1 Number of children of all ages currently in foster care on September 30, 2017.

2 Foster care rate is based on data from the U. S. Census Bureau from 2017 and is publicly available at the Kids Count Data Center.

3 Number of children whose date of most recent removal was during the 2017 federal fiscal year.

4 Length of stay in care is calculated based on the current removal episode.

5 Does not include children over age 20.

6 If a child is determined to be of Hispanic origin, they are only counted as Hispanic and are not included in any other racial/ethnic categories. Data for the general child population under age 18 in 2017 is from the U. S. Census Bureau and is publicly available from the Kids Count Data Center.

7 For children entering care in FY 2017. “Other” includes drug or alcohol abuse by the child, child’s disability, relinquishment, and parental death.

8 APPLA stands for Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement.

9 The number of places the child has lived, including the current setting (except for trial home visits), during the current removal episode.

10 Other placement types include pre-adoptive home, runaway, supervised independent living, and trial home visit.

11 Emancipation means the child/youth legally reached majority (i.e., is considered an adult) due to age, marriage, etc.

12 Includes children ages 9 and older with a case goal of long-term foster care or emancipation.

State-level data for understanding
child welfare in the United States

Kinship Caregiving

Federal Fiscal Year 2017

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Relatives and other kin are invaluable sources of support and connection for children. Kinship caregiving exists for children both inside and outside of the child welfare system. Relatives may offer to care for a child to keep them out of foster care, or may serve as a placement for a child currently in the child welfare system—either as a kinship or formal foster care placement. Relatives who care for children in foster care may have the option to enter into guardianships, which are formal legal relationships that allow the child welfare case to close while allowing the birth parents to retain parental rights. In some states, such guardians receive a subsidy for the care of the child.

Source, unless specified otherwise: This information is from the federal Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) and represents the federal fiscal year 2017 reporting period (October 1, 2016 – September 30, 2016). Unless otherwise noted, for each calculation, children who were missing data on the relevant indicator were excluded from analyses.

1 Includes children of all ages currently in foster care on September 30, 2017.

2 For all relevant measures, length of stay in care is calculated based on the current removal episode.

3 Data for households with grandparent living with a grandchild during 2017 is publicly available on the American Fact Finder website from the Census Bureau.

4 Includes relatives and stepparents. Children who were over age 21 were excluded from analyses.

5 Hispanic children are not included in counts for specific racial groups. Data for the general child population under age 18 for 2017 is from the U. S. Census Bureau and is publicly available at the Kids Count Data Center.

6 In AFCARS, a case plan goal of guardianship with a relative is labeled as “living with relative.” While adoption creates a permanent legal relationship between a child and their adoptive family, replacing the birth parents’ relationship, guardianship creates a formal legal relationship between a child and their guardian(s) and allows birth parents to retain parental rights.

7 Guardianship can include non-relative guardians.

8 Hispanic children are not included in counts for specific racial groups. Children whose race was reported as unknown are not included.

9 Information as of December 2018, available at http://grandfamilies.org/Topics/Subsidized-Guardianship/Subsidized-Guardianship-Summary-Analysis

10 State expenditures on KinGAP programs is from Child Welfare Financing SFY 2016: A survey of federal, state, and local expenditures, which is publicly available on the Child Trends website (https://www.childtrends.org/research/research-by-topic/child-welfare-financing-survey-sfy-2016). Each state reported data based on their state fiscal year (SFY) 2016, which for most states is July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. AL, DC, MI, NY, TX, and WY reported a different SFY calendar.

11 It is possible for states to have had a KinGAP program as of December 2018 and not have reported any KinGAP expenditures in SFY 2016, or vice versa. This could be due to a variety of state-specific reasons.

12 Based on HHS Title IV-E claims data from FFY 2016.

State-level data for understanding
child welfare in the United States

Adoption From Foster Care

Federal Fiscal Year 2017

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Adoption creates a permanent legal relationship between a child and their adoptive family. Children adopted from foster care were originally removed from their birth families because child protective services and a court determined it was not safe for them to return home and that adoption would be in their best interest. Not every child in foster care has a goal of adoption; most will reunify with their birth families or live with relatives as their guardians. However, for children for whom reunification is not possible, adoption is a critically important path to a safe, permanent family.

Source, unless noted otherwise: This information is from the federal Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) and represents the federal fiscal year 2017 reporting period (October 1, 2016 – September 30, 2017). Unless otherwise noted, for each calculation, children who were missing data on the relevant indicator were excluded from analyses.

Notes:

1 Length of stay in care is calculated based on the current removal episode.

2 Based on child’s age on date of adoption.

3 Children are included in this count if they are in foster care at the end of the fiscal year, under age 18, and their parents have either lost parental rights or their case goal is adoption. Children ages 16 and 17 with the case goal of emancipation are not included.

4 Based on child’s age at end of fiscal year.

5 Does not include children over age 20 or children missing birthdate data; children waiting to be adopted from foster care are age 17 or younger.

6 If a child is determined to be of Hispanic origin, they are only counted as Hispanic and are not included in any other racial/ethnic categories. Data for the general child population under age 18 in 2017 is from the U. S. Census Bureau and is publicly available from the Kids Count Data Center.

7 An adoption is considered transracial if the child has two adoptive parents and is not the same race as either parent, or if the child has one adoptive parent and is not the same race as that parent.

8 In cases where more than one type of adoptive family was selected, stepparent receives priority followed by relative, foster parent, and nonrelative.

State-level data for understanding
child welfare in the United States

Child Maltreatment

Federal Fiscal Year 2017

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Child neglect and abuse—also known as maltreatment—is a grave concern; it is associated with many negative outcomes, including physical injuries, psychological problems, and (in extreme cases) death. After receiving referrals, child protective services agencies investigate to determine whether children are at risk of maltreatment, if maltreatment occurred, and if services are needed. Children and families may receive a variety of services, including foster care, family preservation, mental health supports, and substance abuse treatment.

Source, unless specified otherwise: This information is from the federal National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) and represents the federal fiscal year 2017 reporting period (October 1, 2016 – September 30, 2017). Data are publicly available in Child Maltreatment 2017, available from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/child-maltreatment-2017.

Notes:

1 Referrals can include more than one child. Fields with “NR” signify that the data was not reported or available in the 2017 Child Maltreatment Report. See Appendix D of the report for more detailed information by state.

2 This reflects “children (unique count) who received a CPS response in the form of an investigation or alternative response” (i.e., a child who had at least one maltreatment report investigated/assessed was counted once, regardless of how many investigations/assessments they had).

3 Unless noted otherwise, data on victims represent “unique victims” (i.e., a child is counted once regardless of how many times s/he was determined to be a victim of maltreatment). “First-time victims” are those with no previous findings of maltreatment.

4 If a child is determined to be of Hispanic origin, they are only counted as Hispanic and are not included in any other racial/ethnic categories. Data for the general child population under age 18 is from the U. S. Census Bureau and is publicly available from the Kids Count Data Center.

5 Percentages for those unknown, unborn, or 18-21 years old are not presented here as they represent a very small percentage of the overall total.

6 Total may exceed 100 percent. Children who experienced more than one type of maltreatment were counted in each applicable category. The “neglect” category includes fetal alcohol syndrome, prenatal substance abuse exposure, abandonment, and educational neglect. The “other maltreatment” category also includes unknown.

7 Perpetrators and relationships are only counted once regardless of the number of times the perpetrator was reported.

8 Child daycare provider, foster parent, friends or neighbors, legal guardian, other, other professional, other relative, group home and residential facility staff, unmarried partner of parent, multiple relationships, or unknown.

9 The numbers of victims and non-victims are duplicate counts; a child is counted each time that a CPS response is completed and services are provided. NCANDS collects data for 26 types of services, including but not limited to adoption, foster care, family preservation, mental health, and substance abuse.

10 Foster care services are defined as activities associated with 24-hour substitute care for children placed away from their parents or guardians and for whom the State Title IV-B/IV-E agency has responsibility for placement, care, or supervision. Only children who were removed from their home after the report date are counted.

Child Welfare Fact Sheets for FFY 2015

Data from FFY 2014 and 2015 is available on these pages.

Child maltreatment

Child maltreatment facts in the U.S.
Child maltreatment facts in Alabama
Child maltreatment facts in Alaska
Child maltreatment facts in Arizona
Child maltreatment facts in Arkansas
Child maltreatment facts in California
Child maltreatment facts in Colorado
Child maltreatment facts in Connecticut
Child maltreatment facts in Delaware
Child maltreatment facts in District of Columbia
Child maltreatment facts in Florida
Child maltreatment facts in Georgia
Child maltreatment facts in Hawaii
Child maltreatment facts in Idaho
Child maltreatment facts in Illinois
Child maltreatment facts in Indiana
Child maltreatment facts in Iowa
Child maltreatment facts in Kansas
Child maltreatment facts in Kentucky
Child maltreatment facts in Louisiana
Child maltreatment facts in Maine
Child maltreatment facts in Maryland
Child maltreatment facts in Massachusetts
Child maltreatment facts in Michigan
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Child maltreatment facts in Mississippi
Child maltreatment facts in Missouri
Child maltreatment facts in Montana
Child maltreatment facts in Nebraska
Child maltreatment facts in Nevada
Child maltreatment facts in New Hampshire
Child maltreatment facts in New Jersey
Child maltreatment facts in New Mexico
Child maltreatment facts in New York
Child maltreatment facts in North Carolina
Child maltreatment facts in North Dakota
Child maltreatment facts in Ohio
Child maltreatment facts in Oklahoma
Child maltreatment facts in Oregon
Child maltreatment facts in Pennsylvania
Child maltreatment facts in Puerto Rico
Child maltreatment facts in Rhode Island
Child maltreatment facts in South Carolina
Child maltreatment facts in South Dakota
Child maltreatment facts in Tennessee
Child maltreatment facts in Texas
Child maltreatment facts in Utah
Child maltreatment facts in Vermont
Child maltreatment facts in Virginia
Child maltreatment facts in Washington
Child maltreatment facts in West Virginia
Child maltreatment facts in Wisconsin
Child maltreatment facts in Wyoming


Foster care

Foster care facts in the U.S.
Foster care facts in Alabama
Foster care facts in Alaska
Foster care facts in Arizona
Foster care facts in Arkansas
Foster care facts in California
Foster care facts in Colorado
Foster care facts in Connecticut
Foster care facts in Delaware
Foster care facts in District of Columbia
Foster care facts in Florida
Foster care facts in Georgia
Foster care facts in Hawaii
Foster care facts in Idaho
Foster care facts in Illinois
Foster care facts in Indiana
Foster care facts in Iowa
Foster care facts in Kansas
Foster care facts in Kentucky
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Foster care facts in Maine
Foster care facts in Maryland
Foster care facts in Massachusetts
Foster care facts in Michigan
Foster care facts in Minnesota
Foster care facts in Mississippi
Foster care facts in Missouri
Foster care facts in Montana
Foster care facts in Nebraska
Foster care facts in Nevada
Foster care facts in New Hampshire
Foster care facts in New Jersey
Foster care facts in New Mexico
Foster care facts in New York
Foster care facts in North Carolina
Foster care facts in North Dakota
Foster care facts in Ohio
Foster care facts in Oklahoma
Foster care facts in Oregon
Foster care facts in Pennsylvania
Foster care facts in Puerto Rico
Foster care facts in Rhode Island
Foster care facts in South Carolina
Foster care facts in South Dakota
Foster care facts in Tennessee
Foster care facts in Texas
Foster care facts in Utah
Foster care facts in Vermont
Foster care facts in Virginia
Foster care facts in Washington
Foster care facts in West Virginia
Foster care facts in Wisconsin
Foster care facts in Wyoming



Kinship caregiving

Kinship caregiving facts in the U.S.
Kinship caregiving facts in Alabama
Kinship caregiving facts in Alaska
Kinship caregiving facts in Arizona
Kinship caregiving facts in Arkansas
Kinship caregiving facts in California
Kinship caregiving facts in Colorado
Kinship caregiving facts in Connecticut
Kinship caregiving facts in Delaware
Kinship caregiving facts in District of Columbia
Kinship caregiving facts in Florida
Kinship caregiving facts in Georgia
Kinship caregiving facts in Hawaii
Kinship caregiving facts in Idaho
Kinship caregiving facts in Illinois
Kinship caregiving facts in Indiana
Kinship caregiving facts in Iowa
Kinship caregiving facts in Kansas
Kinship caregiving facts in Kentucky
Kinship caregiving facts in Louisiana
Kinship caregiving facts in Maine
Kinship caregiving facts in Maryland
Kinship caregiving facts in Massachusetts
Kinship caregiving facts in Michigan
Kinship caregiving facts in Minnesota
Kinship caregiving facts in Mississippi
Kinship caregiving facts in Missouri
Kinship caregiving facts in Montana
Kinship caregiving facts in Nebraska
Kinship caregiving facts in Nevada
Kinship caregiving facts in New Hampshire
Kinship caregiving facts in New Jersey
Kinship caregiving facts in New Mexico
Kinship caregiving facts in New York
Kinship caregiving facts in North Carolina
Kinship caregiving facts in North Dakota
Kinship caregiving facts in Ohio
Kinship caregiving facts in Oklahoma
Kinship caregiving facts in Oregon
Kinship caregiving facts in Pennsylvania
Kinship caregiving facts in Puerto Rico
Kinship caregiving facts in Rhode Island
Kinship caregiving facts in South Carolina
Kinship caregiving facts in South Dakota
Kinship caregiving facts in Tennessee
Kinship caregiving facts in Texas
Kinship caregiving facts in Utah
Kinship caregiving facts in Vermont
Kinship caregiving facts in Virginia
Kinship caregiving facts in Washington
Kinship caregiving facts in West Virginia
Kinship caregiving facts in Wisconsin
Kinship caregiving facts in Wyoming

Transition-age youth in foster care

Transition-age youth in foster care facts in the U.S.
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Alabama
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Alaska
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Arizona
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Arkansas
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in California
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Colorado
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Connecticut
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Delaware
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in District of Columbia
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Florida
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Georgia
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Hawaii
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Idaho
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Illinois
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Indiana
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Iowa
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Kansas
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Kentucky
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Louisiana
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Maine
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Maryland
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Massachusetts
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Michigan
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Minnesota
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Mississippi
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Missouri
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Montana
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Nebraska
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Nevada
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in New Hampshire
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in New Jersey
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in New Mexico
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in New York
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in North Carolina
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in North Dakota
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Ohio
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Oklahoma
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Oregon
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Pennsylvania
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Puerto Rico
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Rhode Island
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in South Carolina
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in South Dakota
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Tennessee
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Texas
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Utah
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Vermont
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Virginia
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Washington
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in West Virginia
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Wisconsin
Transition-age youth in foster care facts in Wyoming