Foster Care Statistics [Updated 2022]


Children have the right to a safe, stable, and nurturing home environment. Unfortunately, it is hard for some families to provide this environment for their kids. That’s where foster care steps in.

Foster care meets a child’s need for safety and stability by placing them in a foster home, when possible. Dedicated and licensed foster care parents commit to caring for children who need a warm, welcoming, and loving home until they are reunited with their family.

Some foster care parents even commit to providing long-term care. They may adopt their foster children and create a permanent home for the kids they come to love.

Current Foster Care Statistics

Many children come into foster care each year. Consider these foster care statistics as you learn more about the foster care system in Virginia and across the United States.

National Numbers

There are approximately 440,000 children in foster care across the United States. (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Report, August 2018 AFCARS)

The average age of a foster child in the U.S. is 8 years old. (ACF)

The average length of time a child resides in foster care in the U.S in 12 months. (ACF)

50% percent of U.S. children in foster care will be reunited with their parents or primary caregiver. (ACF)

There are approximately 125,000 children in foster care in the U.S. who are waiting for adoption. (ACF)

Nearly 60,000 children in foster care in the U.S. get adopted each year. (ACF)

25% percent of children in foster care are adopted, often by their foster parents. (ACF)

20,000 children in foster care age out of the system at age 18 or 21. (ACF)

20% of teens who age out of foster care will become instantly homeless. (National Foster Youth Institute)

70% of the young women who age out of foster care become pregnant before 21. (National Foster Youth Institute)

Virginia Statistics









There are over 4,800 children in foster care in Virginia. (VDSS)

Of the children in foster care in Virginia, 52% are boys and 48% are girls.  (VDSS)

60% of children in Virginia foster care are Caucasian, 28% are African-American and 11% are Hispanic. (VDSS)

48% of the children in foster care are 13 years and older. (VDSS)

The average stay in foster care is 21 months. (VDSS)

18% of children who exit Virginia foster care each year age out at 18. This means Virginia ranks as one of the worst states in the USA for the percent of children who age out of foster care without a permanent home. (VDSS)

32% of Virginia children in foster care return to their birth family. (VDSS)

1700+ foster children in Virginia are waiting for adoptive families. (VDSS)

The average age of children in Virginia who are waiting to be adopted is 9 years old. (VDSS)

35% of children in foster care who are are waiting to be adopted are under the age of 5. (VDSS)

30% of children in foster care who are are waiting to be adopted are over the age of 13. (VDSS)

30% of children in Virginia foster care are adopted, many times by their foster parents. (VDSS)

Becoming a Foster Parent

It takes an average of 3 to 6 months to become a licensed foster parent through UMFS

21 is the minimum age requirement to become a foster parent (VDSS)

There are 0 gender, cultural, ethnicity, marital status, educational, or home ownership requirements for becoming a foster parent (VDSS)

8 is the maximum number of children in a foster care provider’s home, but most have significantly less (VDSS)

The average stay in foster care is 19 months. (VDSS)

The standard maintenance payments paid to foster parents range from $450-700 per month depending on the age of the child. Annual clothing allowance is also age dependent and afforded to foster parents in the amount of $300-500 per year.

A family must foster a child for at least 6 months before the legal adoption process can begin

Understanding Foster Care Adoption Statistics

Foster care and adoption give children the safety and stability they need. Use these statistics to understand foster care and adoption as you support children and families.

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Interested in Becoming a Foster Parent? Contact us!


UMFS has 8 locations throughout the state of Virginia, conveniently located across the Commonwealth. If you are interested in learning how to become a foster parent, we encourage you to send us an inquiry, or contact UMFS at any of these locations.