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CWLA Releases National and State-by-State Statistics Providing a Snapshot about the Plight of America's Children

Report Reveals More than 20 Percent Increase in Children Living in Poverty

For more information, contact
Linda Spears
Phone: 703-412-3165

Arlington, VA (March 2, 2010) -- The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), the nation's oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization, released its "Nation's Children 2010" report, a compilation of the latest statistics from a variety of state and national organizations that provide insights into the health and welfare of U.S. children. The report noted that of the nation's 74 million children, nearly one-fifth are living in poverty, up more than 20 percent from the prior year. However, the report also contained good news, revealing a reduction in child abuse and neglect as well as a decrease in the number of children in foster care.

"As these numbers show, the economy is pushing more people into poverty, putting more stresses on families and the organizations that serve them," said Chris James-Brown, CEO, CWLA. "Despite the bad news, we are seeing the results of our nation's emphasis on protecting and supporting children as fewer are in foster care."

The snapshot includes statistics about child abuse and neglect, foster care, adoption, kinship support, child care, Head Start, child poverty and income support, substance abuse, juvenile justice, children's mental health, and the child welfare workforce. The report provides a national snapshot as well as individual snapshots for each state. The data was compiled from a variety of sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau, Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System, National Center for Children in Poverty, U.S. Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Association of Counties, Annie E. Casey Foundation's Kids Count Report.

"Understanding how children are faring is critical to ensuring that we are providing the most appropriate and beneficial services to them. This report is a tool for all of us who are working to improve the lives of children. We need to see the bigger picture to guide our work and best leverage our resources," explained James-Brown.

Below are select facts from the report that highlight the state of U.S. children:
  • 19 percent of children under 18 live in poverty (2008), up from 16.1 percent in 2000.
  • 23.1 million people age 12 or older needed treatment for drug or alcohol abuse (2008).
  • Nearly 1.7 million children under the age of 18 were arrested (2007).
  • More than 2.6 million grandparents had primary responsibility of caring for their grandchildren (2008).
  • 492,618 children were in foster care (2007).
  • More than 51,000 children were legally adopted through the public child welfare agency (2007), a 1.3 percent increase from 2006.
  • Nearly 29,000 children aged out of out-of-home care (2007).
  • States spent at least $25.7 billion for child welfare services (2006).
  • An estimated 1.6 million children received subsidized child care monthly (2008).
  • CWLA recommends a caseload of 12 to 15 children per caseworker. The average caseload size is closer to 26.3 for child protective service workers.
The "Nation's Children 2010" report, including the state reports, is available for free online at CWLA's web site. In addition, prior year reports are also available for comparison.

About CWLA
CWLA is a powerful coalition of hundreds of private and public agencies serving vulnerable children and families since 1920. Through its programs, publications, research, conferences, professional development, and consultation, CWLA speaks with authority and candor about the status and the needs of American children, young people, and families. As the nationally recognized standard-setter for child welfare services, CWLA provides direct support to agencies that serve children and families, improving the quality of the services they provide to more than nine million children every year.

Since 1920, CWLA has been the nation's preeminent membership-based organization dedicated to ensuring that disadvantaged and vulnerable children are protected from harm and have the tools and resources they need to grow into healthy and happy adults. CWLA is the trusted authority for professionals who work with children and the only national organization with public and private member agencies working across all sectors of the children's services field.

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