This paper reports on foster children in Alaska by age, gender, race, and region over the period 2006-2013 and is intended to provide important information to state policymakers working to better protect abused and neglected children. At the end of the paper the authors discuss questions the data raise and describe additional data needed to better help children in foster care in Alaska.
The findings include the following:
- The number of children in foster care in Alaska was essentially unchanged from 2006 through 2013.
- Children in Alaska were twice as likely as children nationwide to be in foster care in recent years—nearly 10 in 1,000, or 1%, compared with about 0.5% in the country as a whole.
- Alaska’s foster care population got younger in recent years, with children 9 and younger making up about 57% of foster children in 2006 but 65% by 2013.
- Alaska Native children make up about 20% of all children in the state but accounted for about 60% of all children in foster care from 2006 through 2013. In 2013, 30 of every 1,000 Alaska Native children were in foster care—making them about 7 times more likely than White children to be in foster care.
The authors question, based on the findings, whether its higher number of toddlers in care means that Alaska uses more stringent child safety standards than other jurisdictions, and whether its lower number of older youth in foster care means the state is better at finding homes for that population, among other things.