Change Indicator

Children exiting foster care by exit reason in United States

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Definition and Source



The number and percent of children and youth exiting the foster care system by exit reason. Exit reason explains the reason why child left 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. The current indicator includes children of all ages.

Percent estimates in each exit category are based on the total number of children exiting foster care, where the reason is known. Missing data are excluded from percentage and frequency distributions. Children and youth are categorized as leaving foster care if they exited during the current fiscal year and remained out of foster care on the last day of the year. Indicator includes children who have entered foster care in the current fiscal year or in a prior fiscal year. National estimates 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.

The data used in this publication, Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) 2021 #274, were obtained from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect and have been used in accordance with its Terms of Use Agreement license. The Administration on Children, Youth and Families, the Children's Bureau, the original dataset collection personnel or funding source, NDACAN, Cornell University and their agents or employees bear no responsibility for the analyses or interpretations presented here.


N.A. - Data not available.
N.R. - Data are not reported.

Last Updated

April 2023