What does this measure?
The annual number of children under age 18 placed in the care of the local Department of Social Services, expressed as a rate per 1,000 youths under 18. Children admitted to foster care may be cared for in congregate care facilities, foster boarding homes, approved relative homes or a supervised independent living program.
Why is this important?
This is an indicator of families' inability to care for their children in a healthy and/or safe environment.
How does our county compare?
In 2018, 2.9 children per 1,000 in Lancaster County were admitted to foster care, down slightly from 3.2 in 2009 and lower than the state rate of 3.8. Since 2009, the regional rate has consistently hovered below the state rate, with the exception of 2016 when it was on par with the state.
In the surrounding area, the counties with the highest rates of foster care admissions in 2018 were Cumberland (6.2) and Dauphin (6.0). Counties with the lowest rates in 2018 were Lebanon (2.6) and Chester (1.0).
Notes about the data
Capacity limitations and changes in policy (for example, an emphasis on keeping families together) may affect placement decisions and be reflected in a lower rate of children entering foster care.
Notes: Rates are per 1,000 youth under 18.
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