What are the odds that your foster child will return to their family? Will they be placed for adoption instead? No one knows specifically for any particular child, but you can look up the odds by your state.
Nationally, an American foster child is most likely to be reunited with their family. One out of two kids return home (51%). If that doesn’t happen, the next most likely scenario is being adopted. That’s the outcome for one in five kids. It’s almost a tie for the third most likely outcome – that the kid will age out or be placed with relatives. That’s what happens for one in ten foster kids. You can check out the data on Kids Count.
Of course, you’re probably much more interested in data for where you live, since the odds can change dramatically depending on your home state. If you visit the site above, you can choose your state and see the statistics for your area.
For example in Virginia, your foster child is whole lot less likely to return home. Virginia has the lowest rate of reunification in the nation. In fact, being reunited with their families is just as likely for Virginian foster kids as being adopted, with a one in three chance for either situation. Sadly, Virginian foster kids are twice as likely than the average American foster kid to age out of the system without every finding a permanent family. Virginia and Delaware are tied for the largest percent of foster kids aging out (20%).
On the other hand, if you’re living in New Mexico, your foster kids are much more likely to be returned to their families. A whopping 3 out of 4 New Mexican foster kids go back to their birth parents.
And if you’re fostering in Wyoming, you probably shouldn’t get your hopes up that your foster kids will be adopted. There’s just a measly 1 in 10 chance that Wyoming foster kids will be adopted.
But in the end, we all know that each case is unique. As much as we may wish for clear cut answers, the numbers can only provide a general sense. If only we had a crystal ball!