I wanted to do a little informational blog today to share with you some of what I know about Foster Care so far through our in class training and my own reading/self-educating. I apologize in advance if the information is written rather “dry” but I think you will find some of it pretty shocking (as I did) & all of it worth knowing.
-In 2012,there were about 397,000 children in the US foster care system.
-Today (2018), over 437,000 children are in US foster care. Every month the numbers continue to rise.
-In just my state, KY, there are 9,287 youth in care as of May 6, 2018.
-In 2015, just 3 years ago, the number for KY was 7,538. In just 3 years, a 1,749 jump.
-In my REGION of the state, The Northern Bluegrass Region, the total in care is 1,347. This includes the following counties: Boone, Bourbon, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Harrison, Kenton, Nicholas, Owen, Pendleton, and Scott Co.
-Apparently Boone, Kenton, and Campbell are sorely in need of foster homes as the opioid epidemic tears apart families.
-In the state of KY there are approximately 4500 public and private foster homes. That sounds like a lot but if you do the math, that means each home would need to take in at least 2 foster children at a time to meet the need. Foster homes also may be full with long term placements or may have to close their home to fostering post adoptions. The need is particularly high for placement of sibling groups.
-A child enters foster care every two minutes.
-Reasons for a child’s removal may include: neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, parental incarceration, parental mental illness, parental drug or alcohol abuse, abandonent, parental inability to cope, etc.
-The average child in care is about 8 years old in the US.
-In KY, 1,781 are < 1 year old (of the 9,287 in care), 1,324 are 1 to < 3 yrs of age, 1,561 are 3 to <6 years of age, 2,368 are age 6 to <12 years of age, and 2,248 are 12-18 years old at first entry into care.
–In my region of KY (Northern Bluegrass, one of 9 KY regions), there are 453 babies and toddlers age 0 to < 3 years old in need of care. (This is the group we hope to help as our biological children in our home are 1.5 and 3.5 yrs. We capped our age range at 3 yrs as a means to protect our own children from risk of harm and to maintain Eli, our 3.5 year old, as the oldest–he wants to be my helper…more on that in a future post. Also, we felt most equipped to provide quality care for this age range as we have parented and learned from raising children these ages).
-Children spend, on average, 20 months in care.
-In KY, 5,054 of the 9,287 cases have a current goal of reunification with biological family. And 2,626 other cases stand with the goal of adoption.
-Foster parents must be at least 21 years old and can be married or single.
-The state social service agency’s foster care and adoption programs are free. The only cost you may incur is the cost required for the physical examination if not covered by your insurance. Another cost would include any safety items needed for your home (fire extinguisher, locked box for medications, child-proofing items, etc.)
**Stay tuned for more informational blogs on specifics such as educational and training requirements, the process of becoming certified, our thoughts behind caring for these children while biological children are in the home, how we prepare our own children, how we prepare our own hearts, etc.