Facts & Figures

Children and youth in foster care move an average of seven times before the age of 18, usually abruptly leaving their home with very few personal belongings. Through Families Helping Families of Iowa’s programs and services, we strive to make these transitions a bit more bearable.

We encourage businesses and individuals to learn more about foster care in the United States and especially in Iowa. With your support, donations and volunteering efforts, you can positively impact the lives of families and children in foster care.

By the numbers – Iowa
  • Over 600 children in foster care in Linn County (2020)
  • 8.2 of every 1,000 children in Iowa are in foster care, higher than the national average of 5.5 of every 1,000 (2017)
  • Iowa is sixth in the nation for children in foster care (2016)
  • Nearly 6,000 children in Iowa lived apart from families or out-of-home care in 2015
  • More than 14,000 grandparents are raising their grandchildren
  • 85% of children reunified with their families were still with them 12 months later
  • A child is abused or neglected every 40 minutes in Iowa
  • Approximately 16,210 grandparents in Iowa had the primary responsibility of caring for their grandchildren in 2015
Iowa Sources:
By the numbers – United States

The following statistics are according to 2019 national research and data of the U.S. foster care system:

  • There were an estimated 423,997 children in foster care.
  • 32% were in relative homes, and nearly half (46 percent) were in non-relative foster family homes.
  • 55% had a case goal of reunification with their parents or primary caretakers.
  • 47% of the children who left foster care were discharged to be reunited with their parents or primary caretakers.
  • 40% of the children who left foster care were in care for less than one year.
  • The median amount of time spent in care was 15.5 months.
  • The median age of children entering care was 6.3 years.
  • 52% were male; 48% were female
  • 44% were White; 23% were Black or African American; 21% were Hispanic; 8% were Multi-racial; 2% were American Indian/Alaska Native; 1% were Asian; 1% were Unknown
  • 37% of children find themselves in 2-3 different placements
  • 52% of children in foster care will graduate high school; 3% will attend college
  • 30% of nation’s homeless have been in foster care at some point in their life

Some children who enter foster care have experienced abandonment, mental injury, sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, denial of critical care, medical neglect or have been placed in other abuse situations. These children are then placed in a safe home and deemed a Child In Need of Assistance (CINA).

National Sources:
  • AFCARS & Children’s Defense Fund – https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/afcarsreport22.pdf
  • Children’s Rights – http://www.childrensrights.org/newsroom/fact-sheets/foster-care/
  • Child Welfare – https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/foster/
Support Children in Your Community

Your giving – by donationvolunteering or supporting the Families Helping Families mission – can greatly impact the lives of children in foster care in Iowa. From funding programs and scholarships to providing materials, supplies and clothing during their transition process between homes, your support makes an important and lasting difference in the lives of Iowa’s foster children and teens.