Those who do not have direct contact with the foster care system often know little about it. Aside from its portrayal in certain TV programs, the foster care system is often all but forgotten by the general public. Here are 8 interesting facts about foster care that may just make you want to know more.
Most Children Stay In The System For About 3 Years
This figure changes over time but most children seem to stay within the foster care system for nearly 3 years before they return to their families of origin or are placed with new families. This is not always the case, however, as 20% of children don’t get out of the system until more than 5 years has gone by.
Children Have About 3 Different Placements On Average
This is just the average but even it is upsetting. Moving from one home to another puts great stress on children and 3 different homes on average is a tremendous amount of stress. There are children who are far above this average and who have been placed in 20 or 30 different homes.
Each Year 20,000 Children Never Leave The System
There are many children each year who never make it out of the foster care system. Instead, they remain in it until they are too old to qualify for foster care. Each year 20,000 children fall into this category as those who never get to leave the system.
30% Of The Homeless Have Been In Foster Care
This is an astounding fact that few realize. In America, 30% of the homeless have been in foster care before. Clearly, the parallel that is being drawn here is not a positive one and does not speak well of the state of the foster care system.
25% Of People In Prison Have Been In Foster Care
This is another indication that the foster care system may not adequately prepare individuals for the real world. It is true that 25% of those in prison have spent time in the foster care system. Figures like these do not happen by accident.
The Average Age Of Foster Children Is 10
It can be hard for many who do not have direct experience with the foster care system to conceptualize the situation or the children in the system but this should help. The average age of children in the foster care system is 10. This means that half of these children are either 10 years old or younger than that.
Social Workers Have A High Turnover Rate
Given the stress of this profession it is not surprising that there is a high turnover rate for social workers but the fact that this rate is over 20% is shocking. That’s extremely high for any profession. But dealing with the challenges hinted at by the above facts understandably can lead social workers to burnout.
Social Workers Have Too Many Cases
It probably doesn’t surprise you that social workers have too many cases. The usually recommended number of cases for a social worker is about 17. Many social workers have 3 or 4 times that many cases.
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