From The Imprint–The number of youth in foster care continued to fall in 2022, according to state-by-state data collected by The Imprint for its annual research project on foster care capacity, Who Cares: A National Count of Foster Homes and Families.

The release of an official federal tally of youth in foster care, collected through the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), typically lags a year behind. Last month, the 2021 AFCARS report — which uses a point-in-time count for September of each year — showed the number of youth in foster care to be 391,098, the first time it has been below 400,000 since 2012.

The Imprint’s 2022 data suggests that a gradual decline in foster care that began in 2018 continued this year. There were 381,176 youth in foster care around the end of March and early April, according to states’ responses to our annual request. We received an answer on the number of youth in foster care from every state except South Dakota, for which we developed a projection based on previous years.

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