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Kids Count News May 2013

More Children in Foster Care Raised by Relatives

In 2011, there were about 400,000 children in foster care. Of these, 47 percent were placed in nonrelative foster homes, 27 percent with state-supervised kin and 14 percent in group homes or institutions. Data show states are relying on kinship care at a much higher rate than in the past. In fact, over the last decade, the percentage of children living with state-supervised kin rose by 8 percent, while the use of group homes declined by 22 percent. Virginia, Kentucky and South Carolina had the lowest rates (7 percent) of children in foster care living with kin while Hawaii had the highest (46 percent).

See the Out of Home Placement section of the KIDS COUNT Data Center to access data for the nation, states and the District of Columbia:

Access additional indicators related to foster care on the Data Center.

Young Children Comprise Large Portion of Maltreated Children

In 2011, approximately 663,000 children experienced maltreatment (nine per 1,000 children). Forty percent of these children were younger than 5, and 72 percent were younger than 11. While the overall population of children ages 0 to 4 remained constant, this group's representation among maltreated children rose by 11 percent between 2004 and 2011. As early experiences play a pivotal role in children's development, experts find this trend troubling. The highest maltreatment rates were in Arizona, Oklahoma and South Dakota, where 48 percent of children under 5 were maltreated.

See the Child Abuse and Neglect section of the KIDS COUNT Data Center for national and state data, as well as for the District of Columbia:

Related Resources

States seeking to strengthen their kinship care policies and practices now have several new tools from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. A new report, The Kinship Diversion Debate: Policy and Practice Implications for Children, Families and Child Welfare Agencies, explores different perspectives on the practice of diverting children from child welfare. Two additional publications, Kinship Process Mapping: Improving Practice in Kinship Care and a User’s Guide to Essential Kinship Data provide guidance on steps states can take to ensure the safety, stability and permanence for all children who are not able to live with their parents.

Advocates for Children of New Jersey's policy brief, The Littlest Victims: Protecting Babies from Abuse and Neglect, highlights the fact that most children who die from abuse and neglect are younger than 4 and make up the largest percentage of children under state protection. Despite this, the brief says, few policies or programs exist to meet the unique needs of young children. The report is credited with helping create policy changes that will better protect young children.

Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA) created an infographic for the Face It Movement, a new child abuse prevention initiative. Along with 18 other partners, KYA is committed to ending child abuse in Jefferson County, Ky., within 10 years. While the statistics at the top of the image are specific to Jefferson County and Kentucky, many can benefit from the information on child development, tips for parents and how communities can help keep children safe.

The latest Hawai'i KIDS COUNT issue brief, Improving Outcomes for Youth Transitioning out of Foster Care, aims to increase awareness of the challenges faced by youth who exit foster care without a permanent placement. The brief presents youth data, a review of literature on outcomes for this population and program and policy recommendations for improving outcomes.

The KIDS COUNT policy report, Stepping up for Kids: What Government and Communities Should do to Support Kinship Families, highlights the challenges extended family members and friends face in raising children whose parents can no longer care for them.

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KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a national and state-by-state effort to track the status of children and families in the United States. By providing policymakers and citizens with benchmarks for child well-being, KIDS COUNT seeks to enrich local, state and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private philanthropy that creates a brighter future for the nation's children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow.

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