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Dataset Details

AFCARS Foster Care File, 6-month periods (FY2016A - 2022B)

Dataset Number: 277

Current Data Version: 1


Children's Bureau, Department of Health and Human Services


The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) is a federally mandated data collection system intended to provide case specific information on all children covered by the protections of Title IV-B/E of the Social Security Act (Section 427). Under the final AFCARS rule, states are required to collect data on all children in foster care for whom the State child welfare agencies have responsibility for placement, care or supervision and on children who are adopted under the auspices of the State's public child welfare agency. AFCARS also includes information on foster and adoptive parents.

AFCARS was designed to address policy development and program management issues at both the state and federal levels. The data are also useful for researchers interested in analyzing aspects of the United States' foster care and adoption programs. Tables and other reports summarizing the AFCARS data are available from the Children's Bureau Web site.

AFCARS reporting periods are tied to the federal fiscal year (October 1 to September 30). The National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect distributes. The foster care data files contain information on child demographics including gender, birth date, race, and ethnicity. Information about the number of previous stays in foster care, service goals, availability for adoption, dates of removal and discharge, funding sources, and some data on the biological and foster parents is also included in the foster care files.

Bibliographic Citation

Children’s Bureau Administration on Children, Youth and Families. (2023). AFCARS Foster Care File, 6-month periods (FY2016A - 2022B) [Data set]. National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN). Https://

Data Documentation

Publications from this Dataset