May is National Foster Care Month and to celebrate, I thought I’d share some of the statistics involved in foster parenting.
Colorado Specific Foster Care Statistics
There are so many devastating statistics to wade through about foster care, it was hard to determine what to focus on. For me, the following statistics stuck out most prominently.
- In Colorado alone, 10 kids entered foster care each day on average
- As of May 2nd, 2021, there are 4,035 kids in foster care in Colorado
- In 2016, almost 10,000 kids spent some amount of time in a Colorado foster care home
- Two-thirds of foster parents quit in the first one to two years of becoming a foster parent
That last bullet really made my eyes bulge. I’ve heard a lot of stories about foster families or parents not realizing the emotional/financial toll it would take to have a foster child but quitting in the first year seems crazy to me! The whole process of becoming an approved foster home can take as long as that sometimes!
You may be surprised to learn (as I was) that Colorado actually ranks 40th in number of foster care placements by state. Which means Colorado has the 10th lowest foster care numbers in the country.
United States Statistics
So now that we have talked about Colorado statistics a little bit, let’s look at how we are doing compared to national statistics.
- On any given day, there are around 424,000 kids in foster care placements across the United States.
- The average “length of stay” in foster care is about 15 months
- 15% of kids have a “length of stay” longer than 3 years
- Approximately 20,000 youth “age out” of the foster care system each year
- 6% of children in the US will be in foster care at some point
This number does not include those children who live with a relative or “kinship placement”. If you don’t know what “kinship care” is or for more frequently used terms see here.
COVID-19’s Impact on Foster Care Statistics
As if the data wasn’t dire enough, COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the number of available foster homes. Not to mention, many children in foster care receive services such as occupational/ physical/ mental health therapies, employment assistance, or visits from the various people and agencies that ensure their emotional and physical wellbeing.
There are also fewer foster families accepting new foster placements because of the child’s contact with all of the above listed people as well as police, hospital staff, and caseworkers, all of whom are essential workers and come into contact with many people each day.
Admittedly, I was extremely anxious about accepting a child into my home without being able to contact trace. However, now with the vaccines becoming more readily available for younger populations, I have become slightly more comfortable with welcoming a child into my home.
How You Can Help Improve the Statistics for Foster Youth
As my mom always says, “to be able to help you have to know all the facts!” Reading articles, listening to podcasts or watching movies are all great ways to start understanding the need for foster parents. To find out more about resources across Colorado and the United States, click here.
I am admittedly far from a mathematical genius, but as you can see, no matter how you slice it, there’s an immense need for foster parents in Colorado and across the county! If you are considering foster parenting, I am happy to answer any questions and I know many other foster parents are as well!