Challenges PDF Print E-mail
Article Index
Homeless Children in the US
Can our kids compete globally?
Moments in America for All Children
America’s children are suffering!
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Foster Care Statistics

Boy in hat


Teens aging out of Foster Care

  • While the number of children in foster care is declining overall, the numbers who age out of the system without no caring adult in their lives has soared by 41% since 1998

  • One in four will be incarcerated within the first two years of leaving foster care. More than 70% of people in our prisons report having been in foster care or homeless shelters as children.

  • More than 1 in 5 becomes homeless within the first year of aging out, and more than 50% experience homelessness within the first 18 months.

  • About 50% of foster youth attain their high school diploma or G.E.D. compared to 87% of other U.S. teens.

  • Of youth who have aged out fewer than 3% earned college degrees, compared to 28% of the general population.

  • Foster care teens change where they live an average of one to two times a year. With each switch they are half as likely to graduate high school on time.

  • Of those aging out of foster care, more than a third changed schools five times or more.

  • Youth who aged out of foster care are frequently unemployed. By age 24, those who are employed earn less than half of what youth from low income families earn.

  • Girls in foster care are six times more likely to give birth before age 21. The greatest predictor of poverty is being a young single mom.






Homeless Children in the US


Child on street


  • More than one-third of U.S. homeless population is made up of children.

  • Fifty percent of homeless teens age 16 and older drop out of school.

  • An estimated 1.6 million to 2.8 million teens and young people through age 22 are on our streets. Many have been subjected to physical and sexual abuse by a parent or guardian; are abandoned due to substance abuse in the home; and/or suffered extreme family conflict.

  • Almost 1 million children enrolled in our schools were homeless in the Fall 2008 school year, a jump of more than 41% from the 2006-2007, according to the Department of Education, which notes that these numbers do not cover every school district.

  • Homeless children/teens are twice as likely to have a learning disability, repeat a grade, or be suspended from school.

  • A quarter of homeless children have witnessed violence and 22% have been separated from their families.

  • Many homeless youth engage in risky sexual behaviors.

  • 97% of homeless kids move at least once a year, interrupting their education and making academic achievement more difficult.

  • More than 50% of homeless youth suffer from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and/or substance abuse problems.

  • Among the 21 most affluent nations, the United States has the highest percentage of poor children. In fact, our rate is twice that of the country next in line.

  • About 15 million children -- one out of every four -- live below the official poverty line.

  • 22% of Americans under the age of 18 -- and 25% under age 12 -- are hungry or at the risk of being hungry.




Are Our Children Ready to Compete in the Global Arena?

Child in school

How America Ranks Among Industrialized Countries in Investing in and Protecting Children:

  • 1st in gross domestic product

  • 1st in number of billionaires

  • 1st in number of persons incarcerated

  • 1st in health expenditures

  • 1st in military technology

  • 1st in defense expenditures

  • 1st in military weapons exports

  • 21st in 15-year-olds’ science scores

  • 21st in low birth weight rates

  • 25th in 15-year-olds’ math scores

  • 28th in infant mortality rates

  • Last in relative child poverty

  • Last in the gap between the rich and the poor

  • Last in adolescent birth rates (ages 15 to 19)

* Based on calculations per school day (180 days of seven hours each)
SOURCE: State of America’s Children / Children’s Defense Fund

Sad child


Moments in America for All Children

  • Every second a public school student is suspended.*

  • Every 11 seconds a high school student drops out.*

  • Every 19 seconds a child is arrested.

  • Every 19 seconds a baby is born to an unmarried mother.

  • Every 20 seconds a public school student is corporally punished.*

  • Every 32 seconds a baby is born into poverty.

  • Every 41 seconds a child is confirmed as abused or neglected.

  • Every 42 seconds a baby is born without health insurance.

  • Every minute a baby is born to a teen mother.

  • Every minute a baby is born at low birth weight.

  • Every 4 minutes a child is arrested for a drug offense.

  • Every 7 minutes a child is arrested for a violent crime.

  • Every 18 minutes a baby dies before his or her first birthday.

  • Every 45 minutes a child or teen dies from an accident.

  • Every 3 hours a child or teen is killed by a firearm.

  • Every 5 hours a child or teen commits suicide.

  • Every 6 hours a child is killed by abuse or neglect.

  • Every 15 hours a mother dies from complications of childbirth or pregnancy.

* Based on calculations per school day (180 days of seven hours each)
SOURCE: State of America’s Children / Children’s Defense Fund



America’s children are suffering!


Child in window

According to the federal government, 14 million children in the United States officially live in “poverty.”


According to the Economic Policy Institute, a family actually needs $48,778, to meet basic living expenses, however 19% of all children in the United States live in a family with income of less than $22,050.  When we count all of these “low-income” families struggling to meet basic needs, the number of children growing up poor in America skyrockets to 29 million – 41% of all children.  When nearly half of our nation’s children are facing a life of poverty, this is a crisis.

With the number of children increasing, the need is greater than ever: The number of children in America has grown steadily for the past 40 years so that we now have nearly 74 million children to care for who make up 25% of our nation’s population. There are almost twice as many children as seniors. Twenty five percent of our children are growing up illiterate. Far too many of America's children are experiencing an unhealthy start in life. Our children are falling behind developmentally, emotionally and academically because they are not receiving proper medical attention. Over the past 30 years, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled. One third of all children born from 2000 on will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives; while millions will combat obesity-related health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma. One in every ten children (8.1 million) is uninsured. Two-thirds of these children are eligible for health insurance under the national health reform legislation. However, barriers in some states to the legislation and lack or resources of various kinds, including health clinics are barriers to these children becoming insured.

America ranks #1 in gross domestic product and #1 in the number of billionaires among the world’s industrialized nations.

  • We also rank #1 in the number of people in jail.

  • Every 32 seconds a baby is born into poverty in the U.S.

  • Every second a student is suspended from public school.

  • Every 19 seconds a child is arrested

You can stop this vicious cycle – The time to ACT is NOW!



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