How many Foster Families are in the USA? What to Know.
How many foster homes are there in the United States of America?
The number dropped from 218,927 in 2019 to 214,421 in 2020. The number most likely dropped even further in 2021, when the last recorded number of youth in foster care far exceeded the number of available homes.
How many foster families in the USA will opt out of the program this year? We can only hope that they remain committed to this mission and that more households find it in their hearts to open up their homes.
What Is Foster Care?
Foster care refers to a state-run system that places children up to the age of 18-21. In some states, including the Commonwealth of Virginia there is a program called Fostering Futures for youth over the age of 18. Children in Foster Care may be placed in group homes, therapeutic or treatment foster care (tfc), hospitals, or homes with foster parents. This may be a short-term or long-term placement depending on the individual needs of a child entering foster care.
Children enter the foster care and adoption system or are placed there by the government and social services for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons include:
- abuse or neglect by their biological families
- biological parents unable to care for their children and families
- biological parents who are in trouble with the justice system
A child who is put up for adoption may go into foster care until placed with a forever adoptive family.
Children whose parents neglect or abuse them may also enter into the system temporarily until the situation changes, or until they reach sufficient age to live alone. If a caregiver cannot handle a child's emotional and behavioral issues, they may also go into a foster home.
The Importance of Foster Care in California
Over 60,000 children and young adults need safe homes in the state of California, according to foster care statistics. Many of these California foster kids experienced some type of trauma. Some lived through abuse, others through a tragedy or health problem that took their parents' lives.
Foster children require as much love and comfort as kids from stable homes do, if not more. While the system could place them in large wards, the care received does not match up to that of a loving family. They deserve a chance at a normal life.
Foster Care: System Problems
Because large numbers of children enter the system and foster families can only take on a maximum of six at a time, this system contains a number of glitches. Many kids end up in group homes due to the limited number of foster families. Here they often do not receive adequate support because they get lost in the numbers.
Many of these kids grow out of the system before ever receiving proper support or care. This often results in them not knowing how to function in society and committing crimes.
Kids also bounce around from home to home as the system seeks out more permanent placement for them. They do not get a chance to form real, valuable relationships, or they do and then get ripped away to yet another home. This creates even more instability in their upbringing.
The solution lies in more loving and caring foster families taking children in for the long term. It would also help if more resources were going into rehabilitating biological families to place the kids back in their homes and care.
Unfortunately, not enough efforts go into this rehabilitation. A lot of funding goes towards group homes because they cost the government much more than foster families. If more people took these children into their homes, then more funding could go into this much-needed rehabilitation and healing of the children in the local department of social services care. Many states are trying to focus on kinship care and TFC and Foster care to continue the growth of successful outcomes in adoption and foster care.
How Many Foster Families in the USA?
Let's bring it back to the initial question; how many foster families in the USA currently take in children?
You can see that the ultimate answer is not enough. However, in 2021 there were 214,421 Foster parents in the United States, fostering children of all ages, from toddlers to high school age to young adults.
Our country needs more compassionate people to take on this role from 2020 to 2021 we had seen a 2% drop in Foster parents possibly due to the Covid-19 impact on training and the agency's ability to find parents in traditional places such as places of worship and community center due to them being closed during the pandemic and treatment foster care agencies unable to resolve these barriers.
These foster kids deserve an opportunity to know what healthy love feels like a foster child needs to feel that security that you can bring to their lives. Fill out the form today to begin your process of becoming a foster or adoptive parent.