5 States struggle with surging numbers of foster children
These states account for nearly two-thirds of the increase
The number of U.S. children in foster care is climbing after a sustained decline, but just five states account for nearly two-thirds of the recent increase.
Reasons range from creation of a new child-abuse hotline to widespread outrage over the deaths of children who’d been repeatedly abused. Addictions among parents are another major factor.
The most dramatic increase has been in Georgia, where the foster-care population skyrocketed from about 7,600 in September 2013 to 13,266 last month. The state is struggling to provide enough foster homes for these children to keep caseloads at a manageable level for child-protection workers.
The surge of foster care population in Minnesota is due in part to high-profile child fatality; a 4-year-old boy named Eric Dean, who died in 2013 after repeated abuse by his stepmother. In 2014, the Star Tribune ran a story reporting how Eric’s plight drew little scrutiny despite 15 separate abuse reports being lodged with social workers.
As a result, Minnesota formally investigates a higher percentage of child abuse reports received by its hotlines.
In 2015, 14,680 Minnesota children experienced out-of-home care, and of those 12,167 were placed in family foster settings, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Along with Georgia, the states with big increases are Arizona, Florida, Indiana, and Minnesota.