The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System (AFCARS) report for FY 2011 was recently released by the Administration on Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services. The annual AFCARS report is a collection of case-level data on all children in the state child welfare system.

The report reveals that there were 5,872 less children in foster care on the last day of the FY2011 fiscal year, down to 400,540 from 406,412 on September 30, 2010. The number of children entering care also decreased from 255,402 to 252,320 as did the number of children exiting care, down from 257,481 to 245,260. The number of children waiting to be adopted also decreased between 2010 and 2011 from 109,456 to 104,236 as did the number of children adopted with public child welfare agency involvement, which was at 53,591 in 2010 and 50,516 in 2011.

Additional data from the report depicts an average child in care as 9.3 years old and in care for 23.9 months. Slightly more than half (52%) are male, almost half (47%) are in non-relative foster family homes, and just over half (52%) have reunification case goals. The average child enters care at 7.7 years and exits at 9.4 years. Of the 20% of children adopted in FY2011, the average child was 6.4 years old and had been in care for 13.6 months. Only 15% were adopted by non-relatives while 54% were adopted by their foster parent and 31% by a relative.