The number of children in foster care in the United States dropped to 397,000 in 2012, down more than 20 percent in just a decade, according to the Children's Bureau.
Part of the reason for this sharp decline is that more social workers and other social services professionals and child welfare systems are helping to preserve and strengthen families.
Despite these gains, much serious work remains to improve our nation's foster care system.
Approximately 24,000 young people transition out of foster care each year without permanent family. These young adults, who often leave care with limited life skills and supports, are more likely to experience unhealthy outcomes such as poverty, homelessness, incarceration and poor health.
This year's Foster Care Month theme -- "Building Blocks Toward Permanent Families" -- is so important to the social work profession. Social workers have worked for decades to strengthen families and identify permanent connections for children in the child welfare system.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) through its 1,000 Experts Campaign is offering this toolkit to help you better understand the American foster care system. Use the navigation bar to get a list of NASW experts you can interview, topics you can cover during foster care month, data and other resources, and a glimpse of how foster care is covered in the news and entertainment industries.
If you would like to arrange an interview with a NASW expert:
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Call us at (202) 336-8324
Visit the National Foster Care Month webpage for resources related to the critical issues that children and youth face as well as information to support the child welfare workforce.