Question

What is Aging Out?

Young people age out of foster care when they have reached the maximum age the state will support them in the foster system. In some states, aging out occurs at 18, while in others it is 21. This happens when states have failed to reunite the youth with their families or to place them in permanent adoptive homes.

This interview with Dr. John DeGarmo provides an overview of aging out. The video is about 24 minutes long and is packed with great information. He answers questions about what aging out of foster care means, why youth end up aging out of care, the challenges they face when they age out, three key things that can be done to help prepare the youth for independence, and different ways people who want to help can help.

Click here to go to a downloadable PDF with a compilation of key aging out statistics. (This image only contains statistics from the first page of this document.) AOI will continue to add to this document over time.

Year

Source

Number of Youth Emancipated from Foster Care

URL

2017

Data Not Available Yet

Year: 2017

Data Not Available Yet

2016

Data Not Available Yet

Year: 2016

Data Not Available Yet

2015

Foster care statistics 2015

21,875

Year: 2015

Source: Foster care statistics 2015

Number of emancipated youth from foster care: 21,875

2014

Child Welfare Outcomes 2010-2014: Report To Congress

22,000

Year: 2014

Source: Child Welfare Outcomes 2010-2014: Report To Congress

Number of emancipated youth from foster care: 22,000

2013

Child Welfare Outcomes 2010-2013: Report To Congress

23,000

Year: 2013

Source: Child Welfare Outcomes 2010-2013: Report To Congress

Number of emancipated youth from foster care: 23,000

2012

Child Welfare Outcomes 2009-2012: Report To Congress

23,000

Year: 2012

Source: Child Welfare Outcomes 2009-2012: Report To Congress

Number of emancipated youth from foster care: 23,000

2011

Child Welfare Outcomes 2008-2011: Report To Congress

26,000

Year: 2011

Source: Child Welfare Outcomes 2008-2011: Report To Congress

Number of emancipated youth from foster care: 26,000

2010

Child Welfare Outcomes 2007-2010: Report To Congress

27,000

Year: 2010

Source: Child Welfare Outcomes 2007-2010: Report To Congress

Number of emancipated youth from foster care: 27,000

2009

Child Welfare Outcomes 2006-2009: Report To Congress

28,000

Year: 2009

Source: Child Welfare Outcomes 2006-2009: Report To Congress

Number of emancipated youth from foster care: 28,000

2008

Data Not Available Yet

Year: 2008

Data Not Available Yet

2007

Child Welfare Outcomes 2004-2007: Report To Congress

27,000

Year: 2007

Source: Child Welfare Outcomes 2004-2007: Report To Congress

Number of emancipated youth from foster care: 27,000

The average number of youth emancipating from care over the last 10 years is 25,000/year.
With the current opioid crisis forcing so many youth into foster care, it is likely we will see the numbers increase over the next few years.