April 22, 2024

Navigating Foster Care like a Pro


As a prospective foster parent in the United States, understanding the foster care system is critical. The following is a brief overview of foster care and statistics within the United States. 

As of 2023, there were approximately 400,000 children in foster care across the country.  

  • Every 2 minutes another child enters foster care. 
  • The average age is 8.5 years old. 
  • The number of boys is roughly equal to that of girls with boys being 51% of the foster child population and girls being 49%.  
  • About 115,000 of these kids are waiting to be adopted. 
  • Six percent of the children in the United States will find themselves in foster care before they are 18 years old.  

Children in foster care come from diverse ethnic backgrounds. 

  • 43% Caucasian 
  • 22% Hispanic 
  • 22% Black/African American 

The primary reasons for children entering foster care include: 

Abuse: This includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.  

Neglect: This includes a lack in basic needs such as food, shelter, supervision, medical, dental, and schooling. 

Parental Substance Abuse: This includes any/all parental substance abuse. 

Death/Abandonment: This includes the inability of a caregiver to parent because of death, mental illness, etc. 


Length of Stay in Foster Care 

The average length of time a child spends in foster care is 20 months. Unfortunately, though, over 25,600 children in the United States spend more than 5 years in the system. Factors such as age, level of needs, placement type, and availability of adoptive families can impact their length of stay. 

Annually, approximately 20,000 young adults, ages 18-21, will age out of the foster care system. Without the love and stability of their biological family or foster family, these children have an increased risk of experiencing unemployment and homelessness. These statistics can feel overwhelming, but foster parents provide hope to children.

A Child with Special Needs 

The following children are those who are considered to have “special needs” and are therefore harder to place: 

  • Being an older child  
  • Having a particular racial or ethnic background 
  • Being part of a sibling group needing to be placed together as one unit 
  • Medical conditions 
  • Physical, mental, or emotional disabilities 

At Nightlight Christian Adoptions, we hope to license families who are willing and wanting to meet the need of hard-to-place children in care. There are many governmental and agency support programs in place to help special needs foster children and their foster families thrive.  

Consider Becoming a Foster Parent Today 

Nightlight Christian Adoptions is consistently looking for adults willing to provide stability and love to children in the foster care system. Without families like yours, children feel the negative impacts of the system. Their well-being continues to diminish as they wait for a foster family who is prepared and supported by a reputable agency.   

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