The Foster Care Crisis

Every child belongs in a healthy, loving family. No other environment has proven to be better suited for or more effective at delivering the safety, stability, and care that is so vitally important to a child’s wellbeing.

Across the United States, however, a hidden crisis has been ravaging our communities. Each year, government child protection agencies are alerted to more than 7 million children¹ who have experienced maltreatment. These reports have resulted in over 400,000 children being removed from their homes and placed in an overburdened foster care system. Not only are too many kids being separated from their families for preventable reasons, but a disproportionate number of children in foster care are Black. Any amount of time spent in foster care is traumatic and has lasting consequences that put kids at high risk for devastating outcomes later in life.

A report of child maltreatment is made every 10 seconds²

76% of children involved in the child welfare system have experienced neglect¹

Black children make up 14% of the total child population, but 23% of all kids in foster care. By comparison, White children make up 50% of the child population, and only 44% of kids in foster care³

50% of the homeless⁴, 60% of child sex trafficking victims⁵, and over 75% of the prison population spent time in foster care⁶

It’s not abuse that’s fueling this crisis, but rather, neglect stemming from the overwhelming effects of poverty. In one of the wealthiest countries in the world, many parents are struggling to secure the vital means and support they need to provide for their family’s basic needs. Preventing neglect and keeping thousands of children from experiencing harmful disruption in their lives is entirely possible through interventions focused on stabilizing and strengthening families.

The U.S. government spends over $30 billion on foster care annually⁷, yet a growing body of research shows that preventing foster care is more cost effective and produces healthier outcomes. With more children entering rather than exiting foster care each year, the need for radical change is more urgent than ever. That’s why we’ve taken action to help transform our disconnected, reactive, and expensive system in order to achieve a better social return on investment and healthy outcomes for families.

“It costs more – not just financially, but also emotionally – to remove a child than it does to try and keep them safely at home.”