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Many of America’s child welfare systems are badly broken — and children can suffer serious harm as a result. Some will be separated from their siblings. Others will be bounced from one foster care placement to another, never knowing when their lives will be uprooted next. Too many will be further abused in systems that are supposed to protect them. And instead of being safely reunified with their families — or moved quickly into adoptive homes — many will languish for years in foster homes or institutions.

  • On any given day, there are nearly 428,000 children in foster care in the United States.
  • In 2015, over 670,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care
  • On average, children remain in state care for nearly two years and six percent of children in foster care have languished there for five or more years.
  • Despite the common perception that the majority of children in foster care are very young, the average age of kids in care is nearly 9.
  • In 2015, more than half of children entering U.S. foster care were young people of color.
  • While most children in foster care live in family settings, a substantial minority — 14 percent — live in institutions or group homes.
  • In 2015, more than 62,000 children – whose mothers’ and fathers’ parental rights had been legally terminated – were waiting to be adopted.
  • In 2015, more than 20,000 young people aged out of foster care without permanent families. Research has shown that those who leave care without being linked to forever families have a higher likelihood than youth in the general population to experience homelessness, unemployment and incarceration as adults.
  • While states should work rapidly to find safe permanent homes for kids, on any given day children available for adoption have spent an average of nearly two years waiting to be adopted since their parental rights were terminated.


  • 28,000 children are currently in foster care in Los Angeles County.
  • 1,400 children in foster care are awaiting adoptive families.*
  • 38% of all children in foster care in California reside in Los Angeles County.
  • 29% of California children living in poverty are in Los Angeles County.**
  • More than 38% of the population of Los Angeles County live in economic hardship.
  • 16% (1.6 million people) in L.A. live below the federal poverty limit.**
  • Victims of child abuse are 42% more likely to be abused and neglected again.
  • Those between infancy and age 3 are most likely to experience a recurrence.*
  • Nearly half of foster youth have learning disabilities or delays.
  • Only 58% of young people in foster care graduate from high school.
  • Only 3% graduate from college.
  • Half of youth who have aged out of foster care end up homeless or incarcerated.
  • Nearly 2,000 young adults 18-21 are enrolled in extended foster care in L.A…
  • Teen girls in foster care are 2.5 times more likely to become pregnant by age 19.
  • Half of young men aging out of foster care have become fathers, compared to 19% of their peers who were not in foster care.
  • 75% of young women in foster care report at least one pregnancy by age 21,
  • compared to only one third of those in the general population.
  • Eighty-seven percent of youth in the juvenile justice system have learning disabilities.
  • By grade 11, only 20% of students in foster care are proficient in English.
  • Only 5% are proficient in math.
  • 75% of students in foster care are performing below grade level.
  • By third grade 80% have had to repeat a grade.
  • *from CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)


15 Facts About LGBT Parents

1. Over 65,000 adopted children and 14,000 foster children in the U.S. are being raised in homes headed by non-heterosexual individuals or couples.Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, Expanding Resources for Children III: Research-Based Best Practices in adoption by Gays and Lesbians, October 2011.

2. According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the number of same-sex couples who have adopted children in the past decade more than tripled, from 6,477 couples in 2000, to 21,740 in 2009. The Williams Institute, Gay Adoptions Skyrocketing in United States, October 25, 2011.

3. Two million GLB people have expressed an interest in raising a child. The Williams Institute, Adoption and Foster Care by Gay and Lesbian Parents in the United States, March 2007.

4. Foster kids do equally well when adopted by gay, lesbian or heterosexual parents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, October 2012.

5. Same-sex couples raising adopted children are older, more educated, and have more economic resources than other adoptive parents. The Williams Institute, Adoption and Foster Care by Gay and Lesbian Parents in the United States, March 2007.

6. Public support for allowing gays and lesbians to adopt children has steadily increased. While in 1999, only 38% favored gay adoption and 57% opposed it, in July 2012 52% favor gay adoption while 42% were opposed.Pew Research Center, 2012.

7. Six million American children and adults have an LGBT parent.

8. 41% of lesbians and 52% of gay men have considered adoption.The Williams Institute, Adoption and Foster Care by Gay and Lesbian Parents in the United States, March 2007.

9. LGBT parents may be judged more harshly than heterosexual parents.Journal of GLBT Family Studies, March 2013.

10. LGBT-headed families are not a new phenomenon.

11. Lesbian, gay or heterosexual adoptive parents raise equally well-adjusted children.

12. Lesbian, gay, and heterosexual parents bond equally well with adopted children.

13. Adoptive parents’ ability to work cooperatively with each other is more important than sexual orientation in raising children with fewer behavior problems.

14. Teens with lesbian mothers are psychologically well-adjusted, academically successful, and report strong family bonds and quality social relationships with their peers.

15. Lesbian and gay couples are adopt transracially more often than heterosexual couples; transracial adoptions also occur more often among interracial rather than same-race couples.

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