About Foster Care

Almost 12,000 children under age 18 in North Carolina are a part of the state’s foster care system. To be a part of the system, a child, aged 1 day to 18 years, must be certified by a Juvenile Court Judge as being “abandoned, abused or neglected” and be part of a family that is 150% below the state’s poverty level. Due to economic issues and the nation’s opioid crisis, North Carolina has its highest rate of foster care children since 2008.

North Carolina was the 23rd State in the nation to become a part of the federal plan for offering foster care to youth “aging out” of foster care at age 18 but who do not have a place to live or a biological or foster family to be a part of. Approximately 650 youth a year in North Carolina at age 18 are now eligible, while emancipated and considered an adult, to be part of the new “Success by 21” foster care services for youth. These youth may stay in care, if they are in school or employed, until the age of 21. By June of 2018, approximately 1,000 North Carolina youth between the ages of 18 and 21 have entered themselves into this new foster care program.

Supporting Older Youth in Foster Care

From the National Conference on State Legislatures, November 9, 2017

Supporting older youth in the transition from foster care to adulthood has long been of interest to state legislatures.  Nearly a quarter of the approximately 427,000 children in foster care are age 14 or older and more than 18,000 young people age out of foster care at age 18 each year. The challenges facing older youth in foster are immense.

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Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008

From the Child Welfare Information Gateway, US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (H.R. 6893/P.L. 110-351) was signed on Oct. 7, 2008. One important optional provision of the law allows states to receive federal Title IV-E reimbursement for costs associated with supports for young people to remain in foster care up to age 21.

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Best Data Possible for Child Foster Care 0 -18

US Department of Health and Human Services—Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS)

Key Findings:

  • On September 30, 2015, there were an estimated 427,910 children in foster care.
  • On September 30, 2015, more than a quarter (30 percent) were in relative homes, and nearly half (45 percent) were in nonrelative foster family homes.
  • On September 30, 2015, about half (55 percent) had a case goal of reunification with their parents or primary caretakers.
  • About half (51 percent) of the children who left foster care in FY 2015 were discharged to be reunited with their parents or primary caretakers.
  • Close to half of the children (45 percent) who left foster care in FY 2015 were in care for less than 1 year.
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Child Maltreatment 2016 Report Released

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the 27th report in a series of annual reports designed to provide state-level data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. Child Maltreatment 2016 includes information on reports of abuse and neglect made to child protective services (CPS) agencies, the children involved, types of maltreatment, CPS responses, child and caregiver risk factors, services, and perpetrators.

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