Foster Care By the Numbers

Tish Gallegos Foster Care

When it comes to placing children in foster homes, we treat each and every one like the wonderful person he or she is. We get to know them and do everything we can to find that perfect foster family to put them with, depending on their personality and that of the foster parent(s). Not a single one of them is “just a number” to us.

But there are numbers that are important to know, because the fact is that there are a lot of children in foster care, ones that need the help of people like you. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers associated with foster care.


That’s a conservative estimate of how many children are in some sort of foster care in the United States. Most of these kids are in foster homes with people who are willing to take them in, non-related people with big hearts just like you. Other places where these kids end up are in relative foster homes, group homes, pre-adoptive homes, or supervised independent living.


The approximate percentage of kids who exit the foster care system and return to their parent or guardian in any given year. This shows just how many biological parents are willing to do the work to get their children back.


The approximate percentage of kids who leave the foster care program because they are adopted.


The approximate number of kids in foster care in our state of California. California has the highest number of kids in foster care of any state in the county, which makes sense considering we’re the most populous state. But we have more than twice the number of New York, the state with the second highest number of kids in foster care. About one-third of children in foster care are in Los Angeles County. In California, four out of five children are removed from the care of their parents because of neglect.


Over half the kids who go through foster care are away from their parents for less than two years.


The median length that kids are in foster care before being returned to their parents. About a quarter of kids are in foster care for less than a year. It’s certainly not a hopeless situation!


The one kid who needs you. If you can help just one child, we’d love to have you as a foster parent. When that child no longer needs foster care services, we’ll ask you to help one more, but you don’t have to. But we really hope that you can help give one child the stability they need.

The numbers are daunting; trust us, we know! We know you can’t help all 400,000 kids in the United States. We know that you can’t help the 55,000 kids in California, or the hundreds that need help in Contra Costa County. And you don’t need to seek foster care adoption if you don’t want to. But if you can help that one child, you’ve given them a chance and enriched your life at the same time. If you want to learn more or get the process of becoming a foster parent started, contact us today.