Focus on the Figures: Exit Status, Four Years Out

Every other week, The Imprint features one key indicator from, which offers comprehensive data about the health and well-being of children across California.

This installment of “Focus on the Figures” looks at the outcomes after four years for California children taken into foster care during the first half of 2008. On the whole, fewer children in California are staying in foster care for a long time, compared to a decade ago.

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The latest data show that among California children who entered foster care in the first half of 2008, 64 percent were reunified with their families. Just 7.5 percent were still in foster care four years later, down from 15.5 percent a decade earlier.

Nationwide, the average length of stay in foster care declined from 31.3 months to 22.4 months between 2002 and 2012. Child Trends’ national estimates published in 2012 suggest that the number of children in care for “3 to 4 years” is 9 percent, and the number in care for “5 years or more” is 7 percent.

John Kelly is the editor-in-chief of The Imprint

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