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.
As we celebrate 2023 May National Foster Care month, here is the latest publicly available data. In 2021, an estimated 391,098 children were in foster care in the United States. This number has been steadily declining in recent years, but there is still a significant number of children living without a permanent home. See AFCARS report #29 from November 2022 and the summary screenshot below.
Broadly there are two categories of foster kids. Traditional Foster Care involves caring for children who are “normal” kids not dis-similar to kids from a regular biological household in terms of behavioral issues. Therapeutic (or Treatment) foster kids are kids that need a higher level of care and attention to help resolve the trauma that they have suffered. Naturally, the therapeutic foster parent has a more difficult task. These parents are additionally trained and given additional support by the coordinating social worker representing the state, often through a contracted agency. Here are six things to know about Therapeutic Foster Care.
If you are thinking of becoming a foster parent with the intention of adopting the foster child. We have three words for you this holiday season: Start with Love.
For those not deeply familiar with the Child Welfare System there is a common confusion that Foster Care is somehow similar to Adoption. Multiple website’s content from different folks often use the terms interchangeably. Since this adversely affects the recruitment and work of foster parents we wish to clarify for all prospective foster parents out there: