9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care

by | Jan 16, 2022 | Blog, Featured, Foster Care

The facts on foster care are heartbreaking. The truth is, an overwhelming number of children will enter the system every year in the United States due to everything from abuse to neglect and even the tragic, unforeseen loss of a parent. And for many, the road to resilience is a bumpy one.

We’re on a mission to spread awareness. Because truthfully? Each of us has the power to make a difference. Keep scrolling to explore the challenges youth in foster care face.

9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care There are over 400000 kids in foster care - 9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care

#1: There are over 400,000 kids in foster care in the United States.

Some are awaiting adoption. Some will go back to their birth parents. Others will age out or, sometimes, run away.

9 facts on foster care Kids in foster care suffer from PTSD at almost twice the rate of veterans - 9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care

#2: Kids in foster care suffer from PTSD at twice the rate of returning war veterans.

Studies show that children in foster care confront PTSD at nearly twice the rate of veterans. And PTSD can mimic many other mental health conditions, often manifesting as nightmares, flashbacks, fight-or-flight responses, anger outbursts, and hyper-vigilance (being on “red alert” at all times), among other symptoms.

9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care Only a fraction of kids in foster care graduated from high school in 2020. - 9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care

#3: Only 55% of teens in foster care graduated from high school in 2020.

Children in foster care face significant challenges in the education system. Between frequent moves, navigating school changes, and the lingering effects of trauma, as many as 40% will experience learning difficulties. And sadly, in 2020, only 55% graduated high school compared to 87.3% of their peers.

9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care Some foster children will experience eight or more placements. - 9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care

#4: Children can experience eight or more placements while in foster care.

That’s eight homes that foster children move into—and out of. And with each move, they often lose connections to those they’ve bonded with, including teachers, friends, classmates, and other critical people in their lives.

9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care Foster children often face homelessness when they age out of care. - 9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care

#5: Homelessness is a chronic problem for teens exiting foster care.

Roughly 20,000 teens will age out of foster care in the United States every year. And up to 50% of them will face unemployment and homelessness.

9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care A significant portion of children in foster care face mental health conditions. - 9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care

#6: A significant number of kids in care struggle with mental health conditions.

Due to everything from complex trauma to frequent transitions and the loss of family relationships, roughly 80% of kids in foster care grapple with a mental health condition. But wraparound behavioral health services like those we provide through our therapeutic foster care program can transform lives!

9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care Only a small fraction of foster children go on to earn a college degree. - 9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care

#7: Only a small percentage of kids in foster care will finish college and earn a degree.

According to the National Foster Youth Institute, at any given time, roughly 70% of kids in care report they want to attend college. Yet, sadly, due to various challenges, less than 3% of those who age out will earn a higher education degree.

9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care Teens who age out of foster care face significant barriers to employment. - 9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care

#8: Kids who age out of foster care face significant barriers to employment.

Due to a myriad of challenges, only half of those who age out secure gainful employment by the time they reach twenty-four, many earning no income at all. And those bringing home a paycheck earn an average of only $7,500 annually.

9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care On average a child enters foster care every 150 seconds. - 9 Heartbreaking Facts on Foster Care

#9: In 2020, a child entered foster care every 150 seconds in the United States.

According to the U.S. Children’s Bureau, in 2020, 216,838 kids entered care, with neglect being the primary cause. And sadly, there aren’t enough foster parents to meet the need.

Yet, it’s a common misconception that fostering always means providing a forever home. Yes, many children will need a loving family to adopt them. But many more will need caregivers who open their hearts, reserve judgment, and support reunification with their birth families.

There’s no question about it. One person can change a child’s trajectory, whether by being a forever parent or a temporary beacon amid a traumatic period in their life.

Do you want to make a difference?

No one’s fate is written in stone—each of us has the power to transform young lives. Studies show the most overwhelming protective factor for children facing trauma is a relationship with one caring adult.

Contact us today to learn more about getting involved as a foster parent or respite provider.

Want more?

Check out the rest of our blog, and make sure to follow us on social media. You can find us on LinkedIn at Youth Dynamics of Montana, Instagram at youthdynamicsmt, and Facebook at Youth Dynamics of Montana, and People of Youth Dynamics.

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