On any given day, there are nearly 424,000 children in foster care in the United States
In 2019 over 672,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care in the United States.
On average, children remain in state care for over a year and a half, and five percent of children in foster care have languished there for five or more years.
In 2019, more than 20,000 young people aged out of foster care without permanent families. Research has shown that those who leave care without being linked to forever families have a higher likelihood than youth in the general population to experience homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration as adults.
Foster students are held back three times the rate of the general student population
The foster care system underinvests in foster children, contributing less than 50% of what it costs an average American family to raise a child from 0 – 17 years of age. With this tragic lack of investment, it is not surprising that youth are not adequately prepared for independence.
Within four years of aging out, 70% will be on government assistance, 25% will not have completed high school, and less than 12% will ever earn their college degree. Not only is this a tragic loss of potential, but our economy as a whole suffers a cost of $1million per youth we fail because of lost production and the cost of social services.
Within four years of aging out, 50% have no earnings, and those who do make an average annual income of $7,500. After a foster youth ages out, homelessness and unemployment become a huge issue. Despite there being more than 34 million entry level jobs nationwide, many foster youth aren’t prepared to be independent and don’t have the skills or resources needed to access the opportunities that could launch them into employment
The overall graduation rate for foster youth fell from 64.6 percent in 2019 to 55.3 percent in 2020. That compares to an overall graduation rate of 87.3 percent for other students this year.