Reasons Children Enter the Foster Care System
Most children enter foster care in the United States due to neglect. This is a result of the inability to meet the day-to-day needs of the children and/or provide a safe living environment. This neglect is often correlated to substance abuse, domestic violence in the home, or poverty. A smaller amount of children will enter the foster care system due to physical or sexual abuse.
What is the Average Age of Children in Foster Care?
Children that enter the foster care system are between the ages of 0 and 18, but many states now have extended foster care where children may stay in the foster care system until the age of 21, if they decide to opt-in. While the age breakdown of children varies state to state, in Washington State in 2020, 40% of children in foster care aged five and younger.