Facts on Foster Care in America

ByABC News
May 29, 2006, 10:20 PM

May 30, 2006 — -- Each week, nearly 60,000 children in the United States are reported as abused or neglected, with nearly 900,000 confirmed abuse victims in 2004. About 520,000 of those children end up in foster care each year -- double the number 25 years ago. Approximately 800,000 children every year come in contact with the foster care system.

Watch ABC News' and "Primetime's" special series on foster care, "A Call to Action: Saving Our Children," beginning Thursday, June 1.

Despite more than a decade of intended reform, the nation's foster care system is still overcrowded and rife with problems. But taxpayers are spending $22 billion a year -- or $40,000 a child -- on foster care programs.

The highest ranking federal official in charge of foster care, Wade Horn of the Department of Health and Human Services, is a former child psychologist who says the foster care system is a giant mess and should just be blown up. He's most critical of the way foster care gets funded by the federal government -- $5 billion that goes mostly, he says, to keeping kids in foster care.

There are no provisions for treatment, prevention, family support, or aging out -- just for supporting things as they are. He wants to rethink foster care on a national level.

Foster Care Statistics:

126,000 children are currently available for adoption.