Every other week, The Chronicle of Social Change features one key indicator from Kidsdata.org, which offers comprehensive data about the health and well-being of children across California.
In California, the youngest children have the highest rates of entry into the foster care system. Infants, for example, entered foster care at 10.8 per 1,000 California children under 18. It is a rate more than six times that of youths ages 11-15.
The majority of children living in foster care, however, are older. In 2012, just six percent of youths in foster care were infants; about two of every three children and youth in care (65 percent) were ages six and older, similar to previous years.
A national report done for the House Ways and Means Committee – which calculated entry rates based on 1,000 children in the age group instead of all under 18 – suggests that California’s numbers are mostly in line with the nation at large.
The Ways and Means report reflects that the national entry rate for infants is between 10 and 12 per 1,000 children. The national rate drops sharply by age one and continues to steadily decline, and slightly rises between ages 13 and 15.
John Kelly is the editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change