AFCARS Report 2022 -Updated May 9th 2023

four Kids holding up 2024 in numbers on a yellow background

FY 2022 AFCARS Foster Care Data

The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) and The AFCARS Report

The AFCARS report, compiled by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is a comprehensive analysis of adoption and foster care in the United States. It offers a detailed look into the demographic trends, placement durations, and outcomes for children within the foster care system.

This report serves as a vital tool for policymakers, social workers, and advocacy groups, providing them with essential data to assess the effectiveness of current policies and interventions. By identifying trends and patterns, stakeholders can better understand the challenges facing foster children and develop targeted strategies to address them.

Understanding the AFCARS report goes beyond simply crunching numbers; it's about grasping the human stories behind the statistics. It highlights the urgent need for stable, loving homes for the thousands of children in foster care, while also showcasing the successes of adoption and reunification efforts.

While the report may reveal sobering realities, it also offers hope. It demonstrates the progress made in finding permanent placements for children and underscores the importance of ongoing support for foster families.

Ultimately, the AFCARS report serves as a call to action, urging communities to support vulnerable children and youth. By harnessing the insights gleaned from this report, we can work towards a future where every child has the opportunity to thrive in a safe and nurturing environment.

 

Numbers at a Glance

Fiscal Year 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Number in foster care on September 30 of the FY 437,010 425,974 407,332 391,641 368,530
The number entered foster care during the FY 263,579 252,198 216,450 206,867 186,602
Number of exited foster care during the FY 252,231 250,024 223,918 214,542 201,372
Number served by the foster care system during the FY 689,200 675,926 631,192 606,145 569,879
The number waiting to be adopted on September 30 of the FY 126,090 123,787 117,473 113,754 108,877
The number waiting to be adopted for whom parental rights (for all living parents) were terminated as of the last day of the FY 71,768 71,863 63,827 65,030 64,561
Number adopted with public child welfare agency involvement during the FY 63,094 66,210 57,889 54,240 53,665

Children in Foster Care on September 30, 2022 - N=368,530

             

Sex

Percent Number   Age as of September 30th Years  
Male 51% 188,190   Mean 8.2  
Female 49% 180,253   Median 7.0  
             

Age as of September 30th

Percent Number  

Most Recent Placement Setting

Percent Number
Less than 1 Year 7% 25,338   Pre-Adoptive Home 5% 16,825
1 Year 8% 31,157   Foster Family Home (Relative) 34% 123,294
2 Years 7% 27,537   Foster Family Home (Non-Relative) 44% 161,864
3 Years 7% 24,132   Group Home 4% 14,948
4 Years 6% 21,319   Institution 5% 18,780
5 Years 5% 19,738   Supervised Independent Living 2% 9,022
6 Years 5% 18,091   Runaway 1% 3,742
7 Years 5% 17,438   Trial Home Visit 4% 16,268
8 Years 4% 16,274        
9 Years 4% 15,252   Case Plan Goal Percent Number
10 Years 4% 14,673   Reunify with Parent(s) or Primary Caretaker(s) 52% 186,356
11 Years 4% 14,447   Live with Other Relative(s) 4% 12,670
12 Years 4% 14,812   Adoption 28% 101,401
13 Years 4% 16,336   Long Term Foster Care 2% 7,152
14 Years 5% 17,766   Emancipation 5% 17,736
15 Years 5% 19,210   Guardianship 4% 15,970
16 Years 5% 20,163   Case Plan Goal Not Yet Established 5% 16,771
17 Years 5% 20,101        
18 Years 2% 6,330   Time in Care Months  
19 Years 1% 4,421   Mean 22.5  
20 Years 1% 3,653   Median 15.5  
             
Race/Ethnicity Percent Number   Time in Care Percent Number
American Indian/Alaska Native 2% 8,987   Less than 1 Month 4% 15,571
Asian 1% 1,979   1 5 Months 18% 67,021
Black or African American 23% 83,085   6 11 Months 18% 67,142
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 0% 976   12 17 Months 15% 56,371
Hispanic (of any race) 22% 79,090   18 23 Months 11% 39,768
White 43% 156,570   24 29 Months 7% 27,387
Unknown/Unable to Determine 2% 7,546   30 35 Months 6% 23,474
Two or More Races 8% 29,466   3 4 Years 13% 47,350
        5 Years or More 7% 24,441
NOTE: All races exclude children of Hispanic origin. Children of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.            
             

Children Entering Foster Care during FY 2022 - N=186,602

             

Age at Entry

Years    

Race/Ethnicity

Percent Number
Mean 6.9     American Indian/Alaska Native 2% 4,276
Median 6.0     Asian 1% 1,237
        Black or African American 21% 38,720
        Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 0% 646

Age at Entry

Percent Number   Hispanic (of any race) 20% 37,008
Less than 1 Year 20% 37,065   White 45% 84,004
1 Year 7% 12,653   Unknown/Unable to Determine 3% 5,402
2 Years 6% 11,372   Two or More Races 8% 14,580
3 Years 6% 10,367        
4 Years 5% 9,332   NOTE: All races exclude children of HIspanic origin.
Children of Hispanic ethnicity may be any race. 
5 Years 5% 9,054        
6 Years 5% 8,614  

Circumstances Associated with Child's Removal

Percent Number
7 Years 4% 8,073   Neglect 62% 115,473
8 Years 4% 7,455   Drug Abuse (Parent) 33% 61,585
9 Years 4% 7,134   Caretaker Inability To Cope 13% 24,585
10 Years 4% 6,662   Physical Abuse 13% 23,958
11 Years 4% 6,708   Housing 11% 19,924
12 Years 4% 7,470   Child Behavior Problem 8% 14,280
13 Years 4% 8,247   Parent Incarceration 6% 11,821
14 Years 5% 9,103   Alcohol Abuse (Parent) 6% 10,686
15 Years 5% 9,492   Abandonment 5% 10,066
16 Years 5% 8,944   Sexual Abuse 4% 7,938
17 Years 3% 6,037   Drug Abuse (Child) 2% 4,089
18 Years 1% 1,715   Child Disability 2% 3,132
19 Years 0% 615   Parent Death 1% 2,488
20 Years 0% 459   Relinquishment 1% 1,874
        Alcohol Abuse (Child) 0% 817
             
        NOTE: These categories are not mutually exclusive,
so percentages will total more than 100% and counts
will be more than the total number of entries.
             

Children Exiting Foster Care during FY 2022 - N=201,372 

             

Age at Exit

Years    

Race/Ethnicity

Percent Number
Mean 8.3     American Indian/Alaska Native 2% 4,411
Median 7.0     Asian 1% 1,221
        Black or African American 20% 40,515

Age at Exit

Percent Number   Hispanic (of any race) 21% 42,449
Less than 1 Year 4% 7,590   Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 0% 620
1 Year 8% 16,373   Two or More Races 8% 16,396
2 Years 9% 17,463   Unknown/Unable to Determine 2% 3,991
3 Years 7% 14,728   White 45% 91,411
4 Years 7% 13,014        
5 Years 6% 11,577   NOTE: All races exclude children of HIspanic origin.
Children of Hispanic ethnicity may be any race. 
6 Years 5% 10,756        
7 Years 5% 9,831  

Reason for Discharge

Percent Number
8 Years 5% 9,279   Reunification with Parent(s) or Primary Caretaker(s) 46% 91,115
9 Years 4% 8,676   Living with Other Relative(s) 6% 11,132
10 Years 4% 7,906   Adoption 27% 52,985
11 Years 4% 7,354   Emancipation 9% 18,538
12 Years 4% 7,445   Guardianship 11% 22,842
13 Years 4% 7,700   Transfer to Another Agency 1% 2,198
14 Years 4% 7,842   Runaway 0% 462
15 Years 4% 8,093   Death of Child 0% 420
16 Years 4% 8,028        
17 Years 4% 7,208        
18 Years 7% 14,678        
19 Years 1% 1,434        
20 Years 1% 1,433        
             

Time in Care

Months          
Mean 22.6          
Median 17.5          
             

Time in Care

Percent Number        
Less than 1 Month 6% 12,965        
1 5 Months 12% 24,759        
6 11 Months 16% 33,164        
12 17 Months 16% 32,466        
18 23 Months 13% 25,452        
24 29 Months 10% 20,306        
30 35 Months 8% 15,240        
3 4 Years 13% 26,706        
5 Years or More 5% 10,120        
             

Children Waiting to be Adopted³ on September 30, 2022 - N=108,877

             

Age as of September 30th

Years    

Age at Entry into Foster Care

Years  
Mean 7.6     Mean 4.8  
Median 7.0     Median 4  
             

Age as of September 30th

Percent Number  

Age at Entry into Foster Care

Percent Number
Less than 1 Year 3% 3,470   Less than 1 Year 28% 30,925
1 Year 10% 10,375   1 Year 8% 8,168
2 Years 9% 10,102   2 Years 7% 7,249
3 Years 8% 8,518   3 Years 6% 6,839
4 Years 7% 7,278   4 Years 6% 6,287
5 Years 6% 6,653   5 Years 6% 6,043
6 Years 5% 5,953   6 Years 6% 5,997
7 Years 5% 5,764   7 Years 5% 5,705
8 Years 5% 5,382   8 Years 5% 5,381
9 Years 5% 5,011   9 Years 5% 5,209
10 Years 5% 5,036   10 Years 4% 4,743
11 Years 5% 4,996   11 Years 4% 4,503
12 Years 5% 4,982   12 Years 4% 4,051
13 Years 5% 5,315   13 Years 3% 3,362
14 Years 5% 5,616   14 Years 2% 2,411
15 Years 5% 5,638   15 Years 1% 1,340
16 Years 5% 5,085   16 Years 1% 547
17 Years 3% 3,703   17 Years 0% 96
             

Placement Type

Percent Number  

Sex

Percent Number
Pre-Adoptive Home 13% 14,186   Male 52% 56,934
Foster Family Home (Relative) 27% 29,662   Female 48% 51,931
Foster Family Home (Non-Relative) 50% 54,033        
Group Home 3% 3,670   Race/Ethnicity Percent Number
Institution 5% 5,294   American Indian/Alaska Native 2% 2,250
Supervised Independent Living 0% 125   Asian 0% 439
Runaway 1% 610   Black or African American 21% 23,050
Trial Home Visit 1% 544   Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 0% 225
        Hispanic (of any race) 23% 25,213

Time in Care

Months     White 43% 46,474
Mean 34.9     Unknown/Unable to Determine 2% 1,641
Median 29.3     Two or More Races 9% 9,434
             

Time in Care

Percent Number   NOTE: All races exclude children of HIspanic origin.
Children of Hispanic ethnicity may be any race. 
Less than 1 Month 0% 400        
1 5 Months 3% 2,958        
6 11 Months 7% 8,101   Of Children Waiting for Adoption whose Parents' Parental Rights have been
12 17 Months 13% 14,621   Terminated as of the Last Day of the FY (N=64,561), Time Elapsed since
18 23 Months 15% 15,907   Termination of Parental Rights as of September 30, 2022
24 29 Months 12% 13,548  

Time Since TPR

Months  
30 35 Months 11% 12,446   Mean 19.1  
3 4 Years 25% 27,399   Median 10  
5 Years or More 12% 13,497        
             
³ Waiting children are identified as children who have a goal of adoption and/or whose parents’ parental rights have been terminated. Children 16 years old and older      
whose parents’ parental rights have been terminated and who have a goal of emancipation have been excluded from the estimate.          
             

Children Adopted with Public Agency Involvement in FY 2022⁴- N=53,665

             

Age at Adoption

Years    

Time Elapsed from Termination of Parental Rights to Adoption

Months  
Mean 6.1     Mean 12.4  
Median 5.0     Median 9.0  
             

Age at Adoption

Percent Number  

Time Elapsed from Termination of Parental Rights
to Adoption

Percent Number
Less than 1 Year 2% 851   Less than 1 Month 3% 1,518
1 Year 12% 6,235   1 5 Months 28% 14,426
2 Years 14% 7,673   6 11 Months 34% 17,974
3 Years 11% 5,931   12 17 Months 17% 8,896
4 Years 9% 4,751   18 23 Months 7% 3,454
5 Years 7% 3,963   24 29 Months 4% 2,096
6 Years 6% 3,478   30 35 Months 3% 1,439
7 Years 6% 2,986   3 4 Years 4% 1,864
8 Years 5% 2,813   5 Years or More 1% 533
9 Years 5% 2,529        
10 Years 4% 2,196  

Race/Ethnicity

Percent Number
11 Years 4% 1,939   American Indian/Alaska Native 2% 927
12 Years 3% 1,786   Asian 0% 207
13 Years 3% 1,734   Black or African American 16% 8,466
14 Years 3% 1,484   Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 0% 124
15 Years 2% 1,210   Hispanic (of any race) 20% 10,889
16 Years 2% 1,046   White 51% 27,179
17 Years 2% 922   Unknown/Unable to Determine 1% 797
18 Years 0% 101   Two or More Races 9% 5,032
19 Years 0% 27        
20 Years 0% 6        
        NOTE: All races exclude children of HIspanic origin.
Children of Hispanic ethnicity may be any race. 
             

Adoptive Family Structure

Percent Number  

Sex

Percent Number
Married Couple 67% 35,632   Male 51% 27,292
Single Female 25% 13,344   Female 49% 26,363
Single Male 4% 2,054        
Unmarried Couple 4% 2,036  

Receive Adoption Subsidy

Percent Number
        Yes 94% 50,370
        No 6% 3,246

 

t (TAR) have changed.

AFCARS Background (AFCARS 1993)
The AFCARS final rule was published on December 22, 1993; the federal regulations at 45 CFR 1355.40 implemented Section
479 of title IV-E of the Social Security Act. AFCARS was established to provide data to assist in policy development
and program management. Policymakers at the federal, tribal, and state levels use AFCARS to assess the number of
children in foster care, the reasons they enter and exit care, and how to characterize other attributes of this population that
could be associated with foster care outcomes. AFCARS data is collected two times per year: an "A" period (Oct 1 through
March 31) and a "B" period (April 1 through Sept. 30). This report has been published since 1998 using three consecutive
six-month AFCARS submissions for each release: "A" + "B" + "Subsequent A." The "Subsequent A" submission allows for
the inclusion of adoption and foster care events not available when a State submitted their "B" submission.
New AFCARS (AFCARS 2020)
The AFCARS regulations were updated via the final rule published in May 2020 (85 FR 28410). The updated ACFARS
supports improved and more sophisticated data analyses. Changes included increasing the number of foster care data
elements collected from sixty-six to one hundred and eighty-six and adjusting the data format from ASCII to XML. The first
submission of AFCARS 2020 was due May 15, 2023. Title IV-E agencies had until October 1, 2022, to prepare their data
systems to collect and report AFCARS 2020 data. However, many States continue to be in a capacity-building mode with
respect to collecting and submitting AFCARS 2020 data.
Publishing The AFCARS Report
The nature of the of changes described above requires CB to take additional time to assess and evaluate the first fully
AFCARS 2020 submission (23A). This includes working with States to identify and address data quality issues. As a result,
the "23A" data is not available for use as the "Subsequent A" file for the FY 2022 TAR. CB continues to evaluate and work
with States to ensure the quality of their AFCARS 2020 submissions. Therefore, to ensure its timely publication, this
The report uses only the "22A" and "22B" submissions as the source file.
Definitions and additional supporting information can be found by using this link: 
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