Children’s Bureau Statistics and Research

  • Children’s Bureau Statistics and Research
    The Children's Bureau provides State and national data on adoption and foster care, child abuse and neglect, and child welfare. The Children's Bureau also funds research in collaboration with other organizations.

    • Adoption and Foster Care Statistics
      The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) collects case level information on all children in foster care for whom State child welfare agencies have responsibility for placement, care or supervision, and on children who are adopted under the auspices of the State's public child welfare agency.

    • Child Welfare Research
      Research on child welfare issues, including a series of annual Child Welfare Outcomes Reports to Congress. These reports include data from AFCARS and NCANDS
    • AFCARS 201: States' Information Systems and AFCARS Data
      Presenter: Angelina Palmiero (Children's Bureau/ACF)
      This workshop will provide participants with examples of different approaches States have taken to collect certain elements in the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) and the pros and cons of these approaches from an AFCARS data quality perspective. Topics to be covered include: the relationship between AFCARS and SACWIS (or other State developed child welfare information systems); the nuances of the AFCARS questions for implementation; common errors identified through AFCARS TA, AFCARS Reviews, and experience. (2006)

    • CFSR Round 2: Data Quality and Measures
      Presenter: Sharon Newburg-Rinn (Children's Bureau/ACF)
      Without data, you are just another person with an opinion. Accurate child welfare data are critical to the Children and Family Services Review process, especially as we begin to enter the second round of the CFSR with changes afoot. Do you know which data elements are critical to the calculation of your State's performance? Learn this and other valuable information. (2006)

State by State Fact Sheets

  • 2012 State Fact Sheets and National Fact Sheet
    These fact sheets from the Child Welfare League of America provide descriptive information on the condition of vulnerable children in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, using indicators of child protection, health, child care, education, and income support. A National Fact Sheet is also available. The website also includes fact sheets from previous years, beginning in 2000. (2012)
  • Foster Care Statistics 2009: Numbers and Trends
    This factsheet from the Child Welfare Information Gateway provides the most recent national statistical estimates for children in foster care from fiscal year (FY) 2009 and also provides earlier data from FY 2000 to allow for some understanding of trends over time. Data were obtained from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). AFCARS collects case-level information on all children in foster care for whom State child welfare agencies have responsibility for placement, care, or supervision and on children who are adopted under the auspices of the State's public child welfare agency. (2011)
  • State Fact Sheets on Child Welfare Funding 2010
    The Center for Law and Social Policy and the Children's Defense Fund has developed fact sheets for each of the 50 states on child welfare financing. In addition to data on child welfare expenditures and the sources of this funding, the fact sheets include contextual data such as the number (and percent) of children living in poverty, the number and types of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect, and the number of children in foster care. (2010)
  • Interactive Map: U.S. Rates of Child Abuse Fatalities
    The federal government estimates child deaths from maltreatment using reports from law enforcement, child protection agencies and the judicial system. But federal officials say that not all child deaths come to their attention, and they have urged states to work with local agencies to get more comprehensive information. Hover over a state on this map on the National Public Radio website to see its estimated number of child deaths in 2007, as well as its rate of fatalities per 100,000 children. (March 2010)

Reports on Child Abuse/Neglect/Well-Being  

  • Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect  
    The National Incidence Study (NIS) is a congressionally mandated, periodic effort of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The principal objectives of the NIS–4 were to provide updated estimates of the incidence of child abuse and neglect in the United States and measure changes in incidence from the earlier studies. The NIS serves as the nation’s needs assessment on child abuse and neglect. It offers a unique perspective on the scope of the problem beyond the children that child protective service (CPS) agencies investigate. While the NIS includes children who were investigated by CPS agencies, it also obtains data on other children who were not reported to CPS or who were screened out by CPS without investigation. These additional children were recognized as maltreated by community professionals. Thus, the NIS estimates include both abused and neglected children who are in the official CPS statistics and those who are not. The fact that there have been three previous cycles using comparable methods and definitions means that one can compare NIS–4 estimates with those from the earlier studies in order to identify changes over time in the incidence and distribution of abused and neglected children. (2010)

For more research regarding abuse, neglect, adoption, and foster care from ACF, please visit the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation

  • America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2011
    Each year since 1997, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has published a report on the well-being of children and families. The Forum alternates publishing a detailed report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, with a summary version that highlights selected indicators. This year, the Forum is publishing America's Children in Brief; it will publish the more detailed report in 2011. The Forum updates all indicators and background data on its website every year. (2011)
  • Data on Children in Foster Care from the Census Bureau
    This paper from the Annie E. Casey Foundation discusses quality and usefulness of the data on foster children derived from the Census Bureau's Decennial Census and American Community Survey (ACS). The second part of the paper uses the 2006 ACS to provide data on the characteristics of non-kinship family foster care households compared to all households with children. Overall, comparisons based on Census Bureau data show that households with foster children are disadvantaged compared to all households with children. (2008)
  • Research Briefs from NSCAW
    Two research briefs provide information gathered from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW).
    • Who are the Children in Foster Care?
      This brief describes the characteristics, experiences of abuse/neglect, living situations, and status of 727 children who have been in foster care for one year.
    • Foster Children's Caregivers and CaregivingEnvironments
      This brief provides some information about the families who care for children in foster care, children's perceptions of their caregivers and living arrangements, and reunification plans for this group of children.
  • Youngsters' Mental Health And Psychosocial Problems: What Are the Data?
    This report from UCLA's Center for Mental Health in Schools details and evaluates the existing data from research on the prevalence and incidence of these problems and defines the research in this area that remains to be done. It includes some interesting data about children in foster care and kinship care including the information that preschoolers receiving mental health services were almost twice as likely as older children to be living with kin caregivers or foster parents – “a finding which means that caretakers who are not parents may need supportive services to ensure timely and appropriate help for the children in their care.” (2005)


  • National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect
    NDACAN acquires microdata from leading researchers and national data collection efforts and makes these datasets available to the research community for secondary analysis. NDACAN supports information-sharing through its electronic mailing list and Updata newsletter and provides training opportunities to researchers through conference workshops and its annual Summer Research Institute. NDACAN is a project of the Family Life Development Center located in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Funding is provided by a grant from the Children's Bureau.
    This is the official web site of the Federal Interagency Forum on Child & Family Statistics. It offers easy access to federal and state statistics and reports on children and their families, including: population and family characteristics, economic security, health, behavior and social environment, and education.
    This project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation is a national and state-by-state effort to track the status of children in the U.S. By providing policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being, KIDS COUNT seeks to enrich local, state, and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children.
  • University of New England, Master of Social Work Program
    This webpage includes A Child Abuse Statistics and Research Reference Guide for Social Workers, with links to data on Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities: Statistics; Child Maltreatment; Male Perpetrators of Child Maltreatment; and, School-Based Child Maltreatment Prevention Programs. It also offers a Child Welfare and Foster Care Statistics and Research section with links to data on Child Welfare Outcomes; Foster Care National Statistics; Adoption Statistics; and, Sources of Related National Data.


Last updated 6/23/12