New Data Project Finds Nation Struggling to House Foster Kids
LOS ANGELES, OCT. 5, 2018 – The Chronicle of Social Change, a national news site focused on children, youth and families, will release a groundbreaking analysis of the nation’s foster care housing crisis on Oct. 15.
Entitled “Who Cares: A National Count of Foster Homes and Families,” this ambitious data and reporting project yielded significant findings, which point to a foster care system that often fails to recruit and retain enough caregivers for the children in it.
- The five-year trend upward in national foster care numbers may be slowing or even declining. Using 2018 data from every state excluding Maine, The Chronicle projects a total of 438,925 youth in foster care this year, which is 1,460 more than the 2016 total calculated by the federal Children’s Bureau. But, this year’s estimate represents 4,075 fewer children than The Chronicle’s 2017 projection of 443,000 children in care.
- At least 15 states lost foster homes between 2017 to 2018. Georgia led the pack, shedding 37 percent of its non-relative foster care placements in one year. This while the number of foster kids there has surged.
- The Rise of Relatives: Systems are increasingly reliant on relatives to care for foster children, but often are not compensating them to do so. Forty-four states saw an increase in relative placements from 2012 to 2016. In 23 of those states, more than half of all relative caregiver’s receive no assistance.
- Persistent Reliance on Group Homes: In the face of a new federal law calling for reduced use of so-called “congregate care” facilities, 31 states have placed a higher percent of foster youth in these types of placements in 2016 than they did in 2012.
To arrive at these findings, unavailable through any other source, The Chronicle sent data requests to every state-level public child welfare agency in the nation, poured over federal data and sent reporters to examine these findings in key states.
The full findings, state-by-state analyses and on-ground news stories will be published at www.fostercarecapacity.org. Members of the press are invited to a press call on Oct. 11 at 11:30 AM PST, where they will be given embargoed access to the site. To participate please RSVP here and provide your contact information
In conjunction with the release of “Who Cares,” The Chronicle is producing live events in Los Angeles (Oct. 16), Chicago (Oct. 22), Atlanta (Oct. 24) and Washington D.C. (Nov. 13). Members of the press are welcome to each and every one of these events.
The Chronicle of Social Change is a national news site published by Fostering Media Connections focused the issues that vulnerable children, youth and families face and the public systems that serve them.
Fostering Media Connections is a nonprofit news organization that uses a mix of investigative, accountability and solution-oriented journalism to drive reform within the systems that serve vulnerable children, youth and their families.
FMC publishes The Chronicle, and a print magazine, Fostering Families Today. Both have won numerous awards.
Beyond publishing stories, FMC employs an aggressive dissemination strategy to see its stories re-published in other media outlets, and ensure they are read by key players within the fields of child welfare and juvenile justice nationally. In FY17-19, local and national media outlets picked up FMC stories 753 times.
- Victoria Rocha