Blog Post: Understanding Ohio Foster Care: A Closer Look At The Stats

Understanding Ohio Foster Care: A Closer Look at the Stats

  • September 20th, 2023
  • By Pathway Caring for Children

Foster care plays a crucial role in providing safe and stable environments for children who cannot remain with their birth families due to various reasons. Ohio, like many other states in the U.S., faces its own unique challenges and opportunities in the realm of foster care. Pathway Caring for Children’s Therapeutic and Family Foster Care system provides care for children ages 0-18 who are in the custody of 14 Northeast Ohio county agencies or in direct placements.

1. The Number of Children in Ohio Foster Care:

  • As of the latest available data, Ohio had approximately 16,700 children in foster care. There are only 7,000 licensed homes to meet this need.
  • Almost 4,000 Cuyahoga County children are in foster care. That is 16% of all Ohio foster children.
  • Pathway provides care for 14 Ohio Counties including Ashtabula, Carroll, Cuyahoga, Columbiana, Holmes, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas, and Wayne.
  • These locations account for 8,144 of the 16,700 Ohio children in foster care. This simply means Pathway needs more foster homes to help meet this need. Fill out the inquiry form on this link to learn more and find out how you can help children in our community today!

2. Age Distribution:

  • The children in Ohio foster care come from diverse age groups, with a significant number being infants and toddlers.
  • 60% of infants and children in Pathway homes come into foster care during the formative years of 0-5 years old. This is a time when children learn more quickly than at any other time in life through rapid cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development.

3. Reasons for Placement:

  • A significant percentage of children enter foster care due to neglect, abuse, or parental substance abuse.
  • Other reasons for placement include parental incarceration, mental health issues, or the child’s behavioral or emotional needs.
  • 30% of Pathway children came into care due to caregiver drug or alcohol abuse.
  • 26% of Pathway children came into care due to neglect in the home.
  • Approximately 68% of Pathway children are in care along with at least one sibling.

4. Length of Stay:

  • The length of time a child spends in foster care varies widely. Some children are in care for a few months, while others may remain in the system for several years. The average length of stay is 2 years.
  • Efforts are continually made to ensure that foster care is temporary and that children are reunited with their families whenever possible or provided with a forever home through adoption.
  • 24% of Pathway children returned home to their birth families in the last year.
  • In the last year 28% of Pathway children moved to be with a kinship relative.

Foster Care is a complex and evolving landscape, shaped by both challenges and progress. While statistics provide valuable insights into the state of foster care, they also serve as a reminder of the importance of ongoing efforts to provide vulnerable children with safe, nurturing, and loving environments.

Make a difference in our communities. Be a Pathway Foster Parent Today!

Fill out the inquiry form on this link to learn more and find out how you can help children in our community today!