May is National Foster Care Month, and it’s important to take the time to recognize the selfless work of those who improve the lives and outcomes for children in foster care. We appreciate the commitment of parents, family members, mentors, volunteers, child welfare professionals, business partners and policymakers for their roles in providing and connecting foster youth to important resources.
This month is also a time to highlight the staggering data surrounding foster care, and how each of us can have a meaningful impact in the lives of foster youth.
Foster Care By the Numbers
The following statistics are provided by The Children’s Bureau, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services updated March 2020.
Children in Foster Care
- The number of children in foster care is increasing. In 2017 there were an estimated 442,995 children in foster care, an increase of 5,530 since 2016.
- The amount of time children are spending in foster care is increasing. For children exiting foster care, the median amount of time spent in care increased from FY 2007 (12.6 months) to FY 2017 (14.3 months).
- More youth are exiting foster care without finding a family. In 2017, 8% (estimated 35,440) emancipated from foster care without permanency, double the foster care system’s goal.
- The median age of children entering foster is 6.1 years old, consistent with previous years,
What are the most in-demand resources by foster youth and families?
iFoster serves over 200,000 current and aged out foster youth across the country, through an online community of over 60,000 members. The iFoster Portal contains thousands of curated resources specifically for the foster care community. Usage of the portal provides unique insight into what our community needs the most.
1- Daily needs discounts (groceries, transportation, utilities, etc.)
2- Technology (laptop, Internet, cell phones, computer training)
3- School supplies and supports (office depot, tutoring)
4- Health & Wellness (hygiene kits, vision, braces, diapers)
5- Post High (college/career planning, scholarships and financial aid, employment)
*This does not include the 25,000 annually across the country that receive free laptops and cellphones from iFoster
How iFoster Provides Support
iFoster believes that the increased needs of the foster care community is a solvable problem. It just takes the right investments at the right times to change lives
Read More: What is iFoster?
That’s where iFoster steps in. We connect young people in foster care with the resources and opportunities they need, when they need them. We have built a portfolio of thousands of resources, many are free, many are deeply discounted. Members create their own customized accounts that efficiently match what they need and where they live to the wide range of resources available through our Portal.
Join the iFoster Community and get access to the iFoster Portal.
How You Can Get Involved
It’s more important now than ever to get involved. National Foster Care Month is a time to shed light on the need and the opportunity, but support and involvement from committed parties is needed every month of the year.
Join us if you are a transition-age youth, a caregiver, social worker, agency or other nonprofit, we would love to help you.
Share us with your network so we can connect to those who may need help.
Together, we can provide life-changing resources for foster families and youth.