Children entering foster care by age group in the United States

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Definitions: The number and percent of children and youth from birth up to age 20 entering the foster care system by age group. Some states allow children to remain in the foster care system until their 18th birthday while other states have age limits that extend a few years beyond this. The current indicator includes children up to age 20 regardless of their state limit.

Percent estimates in each age group are based on the total ages 0 to 20 entering foster care, where age is known. Missing age data are excluded from percentage and frequency distributions. Children are categorized as entering foster care if they had a valid date for entry into care during a particular fiscal year. National estimates include Puerto Rico.

Data Source: Child Trends analysis of data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), made available through the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect.

Footnotes: Updated June 2021.
N.A. - Data not available.