Newly released federal data shows the number of adoptions from foster care is up and the number of children reunified with their parents is down.
The number of youth in foster care began to decline in earnest last year, according to federal child welfare data released this week, which also found that reunifications have declined and the number of children adopted from foster care continues to reach record levels.
There were 423,997 children in care on September 30 of 2019, according to the annual report of the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, or AFCARS. That is a nearly 3% decrease from 2017, when the total reached a recent peak of 436,656.
The trend is consistent with what was projected last year by The Imprint in our “Who Cares” data project, which collects state information on youth in care and the number of caregivers available to take them in. The Imprint’s 2020 projection will be available in early fall.
There were 66,035 children adopted from foster care in 2019, about 3,000 more than the record number set in 2018. Meanwhile, the number of children awaiting adoption and those whose parents rights had been terminated both slightly declined.