Casey Family Programs works in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and two territories and with more than a dozen tribal nations to safely reduce the need for foster care and build Communities of Hope for children and families. From 2008 through 2018, Casey Family Programs will have invested $648 million to support the work of the child welfare system, courts, policymakers and organizations that support children and families.
Today, almost all of the federal government’s dedicated child welfare funding can be spent by states and tribes only on services related to foster care. Some states have received waivers to invest their federal dollars in services and interventions that better protect children, improve outcomes and strengthen families.
Explore below to learn more about individual states’ approaches, facts about children in care, and how money is invested in foster care compared to preventive and permanency services. This report is based on 2016 data.1
Waivers enable states to use federal dollars in innovative ways to reduce child abuse and neglect. These federal demonstration projects allow states to use funds previously allocated to foster care to implement innovative and evidence-based strategies that can keep more children safe from harm and help them overcome challenges so they can grow up happy, healthy and strong.
Casey Family Programs invests in each state to support the work of the child welfare system, courts, policymakers and organizations that support children and families. Amounts shown are from 2008 to 2017.
Every child counts
We talk about a "foster care system," but the goal is to prevent abuse and neglect and help every child grow up safely in his or her own family whenever possible. Rather than waiting for maltreatment to occur, we can improve the safety of children who have come to the attention of child protective services by helping their families with evidence-based and promising practices.
Every year approximately:
Making smarter investments
Most states currently use the bulk of the $7.3 billion in dedicated federal child welfare funding only for services related to foster care. The Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018 provides states with the historic opportunity to invest federal funding to support up-front services including substance abuse, mental health and parental skills training. States can now begin to rebalance their investments and shift their focus from foster care services for some children to prevention and permanency services for all children.
Here’s how states invest in foster care (Title IV-E) vs. prevention and permanency services (Title IV-B).
Keeping children safe
Safety and effective response go hand in hand. Most children enter foster care due to neglect and other reasons - not because of physical or sexual abuse. Providing targeted and effective interventions as soon as possible can safely prevent the need for foster care and better ensure that children who suffer any kind of maltreatment are not harmed again.
Reasons children enter foster care:
*"Other” includes parental substance abuse, child substance abuse, child disability, child behavior problems, parent death, parent incarceration, caretaker inability to cope, relinquishment or inadequate housing.
Children under the age of 18 living in foster care:
(on September 30 of each year)
Everyone deserves a lifelong family
What happens to children who end up in foster care? Most are safely reunited with their own parent or extended family. A significant number are adopted. Communities across America have shown that they can help more children to grow up in safe, stable families by providing appropriate and timely services prior to the need for removal, or after they return home or have been adopted.
Children exiting foster care:
*"Other” includes transferred to another agency, ran away or died. Numbers may not equal 100% due to rounding.
Progress across America
Since our founding in 1966, Casey Family Programs has invested more than $2.7 billion to help communities across America keep children safe, make families strong and build Communities of Hope.
We partner with public child welfare systems, courts, policymakers, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, tribes and others to help better prevent abuse and neglect and support stable, lifelong families for all children.
Casey Family Programs operates 16 offices across the United States to provide and improve — and ultimately prevent the need for — foster care.
We believe this work is making a meaningful improvement to the lives of children and families across America. It is critical that Congress and the federal government continue to enable states to make smart investments that effectively address the needs of communities’ vulnerable children and their families.
Download individual fact sheets (PDF: 700 KB)
1. This report is based on Child Maltreatment 2015 and 2015 data made available by the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN), including the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) and the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS).
Check with state officials for the most up-to-date data.