According to records from the Department of Health and Human Services, the number of children in the United States residing in foster homes increased slightly in 2013 after a seven-year decline, The Associated Press reported on September 29.
According to HHS’s annual report, there are 403,378 children in the U.S. foster care system–higher than 2012’s 397,000. The year when there were the highest number of children residing in foster homes in the U.S. was 2002, amounting to 524,000 children.
Since 2005, records of foster home children occupancy have been dipping. According to officials, the long-term decrease can be attributed to policy shifts regarding how state and county child welfare agencies operate. HHS’s administration on children, youth, and families associate commissioner JooYeun Chang said the foster numbers vary among the states and that many states are still enacting measures to decrease their foster care populations.
Last year, 101,840 children were available for adoption from the foster care system.