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FOSTER CARE: Family Tree


Unable to survive at home, adolescents in foster care struggle with daily existence. Some must fight to affirm their sexuality, while others grapple to maintain blood ties or adapt to life in a new family. Before aging out of the child welfare system at 21, immigrant teens toil to gain American citizenship; others navigate a path between being adopted and living on the streets. These are their stories.

*click on the links in blue to see more

How parents face separation from children for living in poverty: Every year, 85 percent of NYC parents facing proceedings in Family Court are charged with neglect, and not abuse.
Print: Castigating Child Care

Video: Punished for being poor?

Corporal Punishment: Lack of cultural understanding causes removal of immigrant children to foster care. Since the enactment of The Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act in 1974, spanking a child can be the potential reason to lose custody of your children.
Print/Video: Abused and Neglected

Young Mothers in foster care lose children to the system: Young people in foster care are 2.5 times more likely to become pregnant by age 19, compared to teens not in foster care.
Print: Separated Teen Mothers

Mental Illness: 16 percent of the New York families involved in the foster care system and 21 percent of those receiving family preservation services from the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) include a parent with a mental illness.
Print: Bipolar and fighting for her kids


In 2009, there were 400,000 foster children in the United States. As these children move away from traditional home settings, they encounter new networks of support. Foster parents, adoptive parents, relatives, and siblings can all play a role in helping these children and teens break out of the cycle of the system.

Every year, more than 5,000 children enter foster care in the New York City. At this rate 1,000 new foster parents must be recruited annually to ensure a quick and stable home placement for the children.
Print/Video: Being a Good Parent

90 percent of all kinship care in New York state is based in New York City.
Print: Kinship Care
Video: Grandparents
Print: Family to Family

84 percent of white adoptive parents would prefer or accept adopting children of color. Single parents are more likely to adopt children of color.
Video: Single Parents: Does Race Matter?

More graduates of the foster care system are seeking to reunite with their siblings than with their biological parents.
Print/Video: Sibling Connection


Teenagers within the Child Welfare System already face obstacles in achieving permanency. In New York, half of these teenagers will be adopted. Among the other half, some will experience difficulties once they leave the state’s care. Others will become homeless.

For some communities like LGBTQ and immigrants, making the transition to adulthood is especially challenging.

*click on the links in blue to see more

Adoption : Thirty-one percent of kids in New York’s foster care system are older than 13. Despite being the largest population in foster care, they are least likely to be adopted.

Print/Video: Adoption

Emancipated to Homelessness : Each year, about 26,000 young adults age out of the foster care system. At least twelve percent of them become homeless.

Print/Video: Emancipated to Homelessness

Getting into Trouble : In a recent Midwest Study, 58 percent of young adults in foster care obtained a high school degree by age 19 compared to 87 percent of the general population.

Print: Getting into Trouble

Embracing Sexual Identity : Forty-two percent of homeless adolescents are LGBT.

Video: Embracing Sexual Identity

Immigrant Foster Children : Of the 15,000 children who end up in foster care in New York every year, approximately 150 do not have immigrant status.

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