MAY 2019

State-by-state data

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 has invested $646 million to support the work of the child welfare system, courts, policymakers and organizations that serve children and families.

Explore below to learn more about individual state facts regarding children in care and how money is invested in foster care compared to preventive and permanency services. This report is based on 2017 data.

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 2018.

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. 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 and tribes with the historic opportunity to target new federal funding to preventive services, including substance abuse, mental health and parental skills training, so children can remain safely at home. States and tribes now have access to new federal prevention resources to help keep children safe from harm in the first place by helping strengthen their families.

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, including by accessing new federal resources provided under the Family First Prevention Services Act, can safely allow children to remain with their families and thrive.

Reasons children enter foster care:

Repeat maltreatment:

*"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 family or extended family. A significant number are adopted. Under the Family First Prevention Services Act, states and tribes will have access to new resources to invest in helping 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 and opportunity across America

Since our founding in 1966, Casey Family Programs has invested more than $2.8 billion to help communities across America keep children safe, make families strong and build Communities of Hope. 

We partner with child welfare agencies, policymakers, families and community organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and with 16 tribal nations and the federal government on child welfare policies and practices to support long-lasting improvements to the safety and success of children, families and the communities where they live. We believe every child deserves a safe, stable and permanent family. 

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 effective investments that address the needs of communities’ vulnerable children and their families, including providing an array of family-strengthening interventions to prevent child abuse and neglect from happening in the first place. 

Casey Family Programs is committed to building a 21st century child welfare system that ensures all children are safe and thriving in strong families. The Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123) is a critical tool that provides states and tribes the ability to target their existing federal resources into an array of prevention and early intervention services to keep children safe, strengthen families and reduce the need for foster care whenever it is safe to do so.

Download individual fact sheets (PDF: 700 KB)

1. This report is based on Child Maltreatment 2017 and 2017 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. 

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