As we prepare to celebrate May National Foster Care Month 2023, discussing the racial composition of foster kids in the US is timely.
According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), there were 391,000 children in foster care in the United States as of September 30, 2021. This represents a decrease of 2.2% from the previous year when there were 407,318 children in foster care.
The Racial Composition of Foster Kids in the US
The racial composition of foster kids (Source AFCARS report #29 Page 2) in the United States is as follows, in descending number of kids as of September 2021:
- White: 168,063 (43%)
- Black or African American: 86,645 (22%)
- Hispanic (of any race): 85,215(22%)
- Two or More Races 30,701 (8%)
- American Indian or Alaska Native 9,393 (2%)
- Unknown/Unable to determine: 7,144 (2%)
- Asian 2,025 (1%)
- Native Hawaiian: 987 (rounded down to 0%)
|Race||US Foster Kids||US Census Data Population by Race||Less or More than Population?|
|White||43%||75.8%||Foster kids are 32.8 % less than the proportion of the white population|
|Black or African American||22%||13.6%||Foster kids 8.4% more than the proportion of the Black population|
|Hispanic or Latino||22%||18.9%||Foster kids 3.1% more than the Hispanic population|
|Two or More Races||8%||2.9%||Foster kids 5.1% more than proportion of two or more race population|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||2%||1.3%||Foster Kids 0.7 % more than the proportion of the American Indian or Alaska Native Population.|
|Asian||1%||6.1%||Foster kids are 5.1% less than the proportion of the Asian or Native Hawaiian population|
|Unknown/Unable to determine||2%||We could not find the category in Census Data|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||1%||1.3%||Foster kids 0.3% less than the proportion of American Indian or Alaska Native|
|Native Hawaiian||0%||0.3%||Foster kids are less /equal to the proportion of the Native Hawaiian population.|
Foster Kids are more (Overrepresented) than the proportion of some racial groups
The highlighted categories in the table above are racial demographics overrepresented in the foster kid population. This signals that there needs to be a change in how foster care is managed.
Fortunately, the Social Work community and all US States (that we have spoken to) generally agree on solution steps like reducing child poverty, emphasizing kinship care, relating to culture, and diligent foster parent recruiting can help meet the challenge.