#NationalFosterCareMonth: Why Children End Up in Foster Care

May is Foster Care Awareness Month. While most people are, in fact, aware of foster care, not everyone knows exactly how it works, or more importantly, why it exists. A Family for Every Child works to place foster care children in forever homes if they cannot be reunited with their families. But how do the children we represent end up in foster care in the first place?

Foster care becomes necessary when children are not receiving the best possible care in their own homes. There are numerous reasons why a social worker ? would feel that foster care is the safest place for a child. Below are a few of the top reasons children are placed in foster care, as identified on  adoption.com.

1. Abuse

If it is discovered that a parent is physically or sexually abusing their child(ren) ?, the child may be taken by child-protective services ? and if there are no relatives available to care for them, they may be placed in foster care ??? Each year, about 3.6 million referrals regarding child abuse are sent to child-protection agencies. Abuse is the reason behind about 17% of foster care placements.

2. Neglect

ChildWelfare.gov defines neglect as "...the failure of a parent or other person with responsibility for the child to provide needed food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision to the degree that the child’s health, safety, and well-being are threatened with harm." According to the U.S. Children's Bureau 2016 statistics, 61% of children in foster care were placed there due to neglect, making neglect the top reason children are placed in foster care.

3. Parental Drug Abuse

Parental drug abuse contributes to child abuse and neglect and is another one of the leading reasons why children are removed from their homes. In 2016, 92,000 children were taken out of their homes because at least one of their parents was struggling with drug abuse.

4. Incarceration

When a child's only parent or parents ? are serving time in prison, foster care may be the only place for the child to go ?

5. Loss of Parents


6. Parent's Illness

Physical and mental illnesses can impair a parent and make it impossible for them to provide the care their child or children ? need.  In some cases, children of ill parents ? are placed in foster care.