Each year, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (DHHS) Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) releases updated statistics on children in foster care and public adoptions. The statistics shed light on some noteworthy trends, and the annual reports are worth reviewing for anyone who is considering or has questions about the benefits of public adoption.
National Foster Care Public Adoption Statistics
The following statistics are based on data for the period from October 1, 2014, through September 30, 2015, which are currently the most recent data available:
- The average age at which a child enters foster care is 7.3 years. However, nearly one in five children enter foster care under the age of one, compared to 20 percent for children of all ages between 14 and 20.
- The average age of all children living in foster care is 8.6 years. However, more than a third of all children living in foster care are under the age of five—the largest percentage of any five-year age group.
- The number of children in foster care has increased in each of the past three years. In 2012, there were just over 397,000 children living in foster care in the United States. In 2015, this number increased to nearly 428,000.
- The leading reason for the removal of children into foster care is neglect. According to AFCARS, nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of all children living in foster care have experienced neglect. The next-leading reasons for removal are parental drug abuse (32 percent), caretaker inability to cope (14 percent), and physical abuse (13 percent).
- The number of children who exited foster care decreased in two of the past three years, while the number of children entering foster care has been increasing consistently.
- The number of children living in foster care whose parental rights have been terminated has fluctuated over the past five years, from a low of 58,187 to a high of 61,904.
- For 25 percent of all children living in foster care, the case plan goal is adoption. This far surpasses all other goals with the exception of a parent or caretaker reunification.
- In 2015, more children were adopted out of foster care than in any of the previous four years. In fact, 2015 saw an increase of more than 15,000 public adoptions over the previous four-year high.
- On average, a child will spend 20.4 months in foster care before being reunited, adopted, emancipated, designated for long-term foster care, or finding a permanent home through other means.
- More than two-thirds (68 percent) of adoptive parents are married. Twenty-six percent are single females, while unmarried couples and single males each account for three percent of public adoptions.
Ohio Foster Care Adoption Statistics
In addition to publishing national foster care and public adoption statistics, AFCARS releases annual state-specific figures as well. Here are some of the most recent statistics for Ohio:
- The average age at adoption in Ohio is 4.8 years. This is significantly lower than the national average of 6.2 years.
- Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of adoptive parents in Ohio are married. Slightly less than 20 percent are single females, and just 1.4 percent are single males.
- In Ohio, the average length of time between the termination of parental rights and public adoption through a foster care agency is 15 months. This is slightly longer than the national average of one year.
Contact the Cleveland, OH Adoption Attorneys at Laubacher & Co.
The attorneys at Laubacher & Co. provide experienced legal representation for prospective parents seeking to adopt in Ohio. If you are planning to adopt and would like more information about the steps involved, we invite you to call (440) 336-8687 or contact us online for a free consultation.