6 Quick Statistics On The Current State Of Foster Care

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The state of foster care is constantly changing and evolving. No two years — or even months — are exactly the same because there are constant developments that affect the institution and how the system operates.

Let’s take a broad look at the current standing of the foster care system.

Foster Care Statistics 2019

1. There are approximately 440,000 foster youth nationwide. Despite child welfare’s efforts to prevent the removal of children from their parents, the number of children in foster care has been increasing. Currently, we are at an all time high as the demand for foster parents is far higher than the supply, and factors like parental opioid addiction are forcing more children to be removed from their homes.

2. 30,000 youth age out of the foster care system between the ages of 18 – 21 annually. The exact time a foster youth ages out of the system depends on where they live. Regardless, roughly 30,000 youth are forced to exit the system annually without having found a forever family, leaving them to fend for themselves.

It is not surprising then that within four years of aging out, 70% will be on government assistance, 25% will not have completed high school, and less than 12% will ever earn their college degree.

3. Within four years of aging out, 50% have no earnings, and those who do make an average annual income of $7,500. After a foster youth ages out, homelessness and unemployment become a huge issue. Despite there being more than 34 million entry level jobs nationwide, many foster youth aren’t prepared to be independent and don’t have the skills or resources needed to access the opportunities that could launch them into employment.

4. Only 5% of rural foster youth and 21% of urban foster youth report access to a computer at home. Having access to technology is crucial for a foster child to be on a level playing field with their peers. But the child welfare system underinvests in foster children, providing less than half of the funds an average parent invests in their child.

This results in foster children not receiving the same resources and opportunities as their peers. Without a laptop or smartphone (that has voice, text, data and a hotspot), they are restricted in many arenas, including studying, job applications, extracurricular opportunities, and networking. Technology is the gateway to normalcy and opportunity for foster youth.

5. The median age of children in foster care is 6 ½ years old. While many people stereotype foster children as troubled teens, the truth of the matter is that most foster children are just that — children. Their biological parents are taken from them at a very young age, which can have a huge impact on their cognitive and emotional development growing up if they are not cared for properly in their youth.

6. The price of underinvesting in our foster youth results in $1 million in societal costs. What many people don’t consider is that it’s not just innocent foster youth that take a hit from society’s lack of attention and investment in them. Our economy as a whole suffers because of the lost services and production that could be contributing to and growing our marketplace, but isn’t.

iFoster Jobs Program

Some of the biggest issues in the foster care system revolve around the wasted potential of capable and smart youth, simply because they don’t have access to the right resources.

The iFoster Jobs Program exists to combat that exact issue. This is a trauma and evidence informed training program that provides hundreds of foster youth with the job skills they need to succeed in the workforce.

We’ve partnered with over 25 major corporate employers who offer interviews to each of the youths who graduate from training. It has grown into a pipeline of work-ready young people across five counties in California working for national and regional employment partners including CVS, Starbucks and Kroger.

As a result, these people have earned over $4 million in income and experienced three times the industry average retention rate in the first six months of their jobs. We provide them with both the soft and hard skills they need to be successful in today’s job market.

Want to learn more? Please contact support@ifoster.org so we can connect you with the resources you or your foster youth need to succeed.