Watching the Numbers.png

CNYCA's six-year statistical survey monitoring New York City's child welfare system

November 2016

Our six years of key indicators for New York City's child welfare system spotlight trends in foster care and foster care preventive services throughout the five boroughs. Perhaps most notable, while the number of reports of abuse and neglect has remained largely the same over the past six years, the way the city has responded to them has changed significantly, with far fewer children entering foster care today than ever before. Highlights include: 

  • New York City's foster care population has reached a record low, with a total average population of under 10,000, and only 3,702 admitted in Fiscal Year 2016. In FY11, the total average population was close to 15,000 and 6,313 children were admitted to foster care. 
  • In FY16, 19 percent more children were discharged from foster care than admitted.  
  • Of all children discharged from foster care in FY15 and FY16, nearly a quarter were discharged to adoption. In FY11, less than 17 percent were discharged to adoption. 
  • The percentage of children returning to foster care within one year of discharge has declined to less than 11 percent during 2015.
  • The number of reports of abuse and neglect has remained largely steady over the past six years. However, a smaller percentage of these reports were substantiated in FY16 than in recent years. 
  • Even as the foster care population has dropped, the number of families receiving ACS-contracted services to prevent foster care placement has barely budged, from about 21,500 in FY11 to just over 22,000 in FY16. 
  • The average caseload of child protective workers continues to slowly rise.
  • Over one-third of all children placed in foster homes in FY16 were placed close to home.