Every year, the Administration for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services releases a report that outlines the current state of the foster care system in the U.S. The 2016 report was released at the end of last year, and sadly, it reveals that the number of children in foster care has increased for the fourth consecutive year.
How Many Children Are in Foster Care?
The report shows that there were 427,400 children in foster care at the end of 2015, but this number increased to 437,500 by the end of 2016. This is still significantly lower than the data from 2002, when the foster care population peaked at nearly 525,000 children. However, the steady rise in the foster care population over the last several years has many people concerned.
Another number that is on the rise is the number of adoptions from foster care. In 2015, over 54,000 children were adopted from the foster care system, however over 57,000 children in foster care were matched with families in 2016. There’s still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to finding homes for children in foster care, but the increase in adoptions shows that progress is being made.
Why is the Foster Care Population Rising?
According to the report, the increase in the number of children in foster care is mainly due to substance abuse in the home. The data reveals that substance abuse was an issue in over one-third of the foster care cases in 2016. Furthermore, the states with the most significant increases in foster care cases are those that have been hit the hardest by the opioid crisis.
Fortunately, the Department of Health and Human Services has launched several initiatives to fight the opioid crisis. In fact, the opioid crisis was named one of the department’s top three priorities for the year. The main goal to help adults gain access to prevention and recovery resources. The Department of Health and Human Services also hopes to encourage healthcare providers to use alternative forms of pain management. If these initiatives are successful, many parents will get the help they need to overcome their addiction so they can take better care of their children. More importantly, the success of these initiatives could save many children from being sent to foster care.
Don’t let your child become another statistic. If you are being investigated for child abuse or neglect, contact Williams Law Group, LLC at once. Our compassionate family law attorneys will fight tirelessly to keep your child in your home. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.