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New Adoption and Foster Care Data Continues Positive Trends with Caseload Decline

A mother tucks in an adopted child into bed.Last week, ACF released its most recent Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, or AFCARS report, which includes some encouraging statistics about child welfare in the United States.

At the time of the data collection, there were 400,540 children in foster care, down by nearly 25 percent from a decade ago. 

Only 252,000 children were brought into foster care in 2011—the lowest number in the report’s history.

With the passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) in 1998, child welfare systems placed a renewed emphasis on achieving positive permanency – adoption, guardianship, or reunification – for children who enter foster care. 

While there are many factors contributing to the decrease in number of children in foster care over time, our collective commitment to improving the lives of children and families has resulted in keeping more children safely in their homes whenever possible, and moving those in foster care more quickly to permanency.

Our work doesn’t end there; we are also committed to ensuring that children and families receive a set of services that facilitate healing and recovery and that promote social and emotional well-being while they are involved with the child welfare system.

It is my hope that over the next 14 years, we will be able to make the sorts of gains in child and family well-being that we have seen over the past 14 years in our efforts to promote safe, permanent families for children faced with abuse and neglect.

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