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Change Indicator

Children ages birth to 17 in foster care in United States

Children ages birth to 17 in foster care

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Definition and Source



The number and rate per 1,000 of children under age 18 in the foster care system. Some states allow children to remain in the foster care system until their 18th birthday while other states have age limits that extend a few years beyond this. To allow for comparison across states, this indicator includes the population under age 18 in foster care. Children are categorized as being in foster care if they entered prior to the end of the current fiscal year and have not been discharged from their latest foster care spell by the end of the current fiscal year. Rates are based on Census Bureau estimates of the population of children ages 0 to 17 in each state, as of July 1st of the respective year. National estimates do not include Puerto Rico.

Data Source

Child Trends analysis of data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), made available through the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect. Population data: U.S. Census Bureau. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Single Year of Age and Sex for the United States, States, and Puerto Rico Commonwealth.


N.A. or NA - Data not available. 

Last Updated

May 2024