May is National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month May 14, 2024

May is National Foster Care Month 

By Krysta Hughes, Program Manager, Resource Family Agency 

Did you know that May is National Foster Care Month? Because of our involvement with foster youth over the last 50 years, this is a cause that we at San Diego Youth Services hold close to our hearts.

California has one of the largest foster care populations in the United States, with approximately 60,000 children in the foster care system. With these numbers it’s hard to ignore the need for safe, stable, and loving homes for all of these youth.

This year, not only do we raise awareness about the thousands of children and youth in foster care, but also the importance of mental health. Mental and behavioral health is the largest unmet need for these children and youth. By addressing mental health as an important component of overall well-being, children and youth in foster care can develop the resiliency and lifelong skills that contribute to self-sufficiency and achieving their life ambition.

Children may be removed by Child and Family Well-Being as a result of abuse, neglect, abandonment or other threats to the child’s safety and well-being. The goal of intervention is to define a path to restoration and reunification of the family. According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 38.9% of the time, parental abuse of drugs or alcohol is a factor in the child’s removal. Did you know, in the past year 7.74% of adults and 4.08% of youth in the US suffer from a substance use disorder?

Foster Care Facts & Statistics: Nation-Wide

  • In the United States, there are approximately 437,000 children in foster care on any given day.
  • Around 20,000 young people age out of the foster care system each year without a permanent family.
  • Studies show that children in foster care are more likely to experience mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, compared to children not in foster care.
  • Foster care awareness has been increasing in recent years, with more organizations and individuals advocating for the needs of children in foster care.
  • Foster care awareness campaigns often focus on the importance of providing stable and loving homes for children in need, as well as the long-term benefits of supporting these children as they transition into adulthood.

Foster Care Facts & Statistics: California

  • In California, the average age of a child entering foster care is 8 years old.
  • About 30% of children in California's foster care system are placed in group homes or institutions, rather than traditional family foster homes.
  • California has been working to reduce the number of children in group homes and increase the number of children placed with families through programs like Resource Family Approval (RFA).
  • California has seen an increase in the number of children in foster care due to the opioid epidemic and other factors contributing to parental substance abuse.
  • California has implemented policies and programs aimed at improving outcomes for children in foster care, such as extending foster care services to age 21 and prioritizing family reunification whenever possible.
  • Despite these efforts, California, like many other states, continues to face challenges in providing stable and supportive placements for children in foster care.

Interested in becoming a foster parent? Learn more about our foster care services here.

 

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