About youth in care

Youth enter foster care through no fault of their own. They were living in a situation that the state’s child protection agency determined to be unsafe. Too often the youth’s experience includes neglect, parental substance abuse, or physical or sexual abuse. Systemic racism, poverty, inequity in the criminal justice system, and implicit bias are all factors that can influence how families come into contact with and experience the foster care system. None of these factors are under youth's control.

Youth in foster care need what all children and teens need—love, support, and connection. They are funny, vibrant, growing young people who deserve permanent families.

  • There are over 391,000 youth in foster care in the United States, according to the most recent federal data.
  • Because of the complex trauma faced by youth in foster care, up to 80 percent of youth in foster care experience significant mental health diagnoses, compared to 18 to 22 percent of the general population.
  • Youth of color and youth who identify as LGBTQ+ are over-represented in the foster care system nationwide and within the region we serve.
  • Youth who have permanency through adoption, guardianship, reunification, and kinship care ultimately report more positive outcomes in housing stability, education, health, and feelings of belonging throughout their lifetime.

Youth on NWAE

Youth profiles on Northwest Adoption Exchange feature youth ages 2 to 21 in Oregon and Washington State. All youth on our site are in need of permanent families.

Meet the youth.