Children in foster care waiting for adoption by age group in the United States

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Definitions: Children and youth waiting for adoption from birth up to age 20 by age group. Most states allow children to remain in the foster care system until their 18th birthday, though some 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. National estimates include Puerto Rico.

Percent estimates in each age group are based on the total ages 0 to 20 where age is known. Missing age data are excluded from percentage and frequency distributions. Age was determined by calculating the number of days between the child’s date of birth and the fiscal year end date. In the AFCARS adoption file, only the month and year of the child’s birth are provided, so the date of children’s birth was imputed as being on the 15th day of the month. 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.
The data used in this publication, Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) 2019 #239, were obtained from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect and have been used in accordance with its Terms of Use Agreement license. The Administration on Children, Youth and Families, the Children's Bureau, the original dataset collection personnel or funding source, NDACAN, Cornell University and their agents or employees bear no responsibility for the analyses or interpretations presented here.

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