lived in 3,061 facilities; about 70 percent of them were concentrated in the 40 percent of facilities that are government owned (Sickmund, 2002). The 1999 administration of the CJRP (Sickmund, 2004) arrived at a higher number of juvenile offenders—134,011, itself an increase from 125,805 in 1997. About 74 percent of the juveniles encountered in the CJRP have been committed while about 25 percent are detained; only 0–1 percent are under diversion agreements. The total population of juvenile offenders in residential placement is disproportionately composed of racial and ethnic minorities, with blacks (39 percent) and Hispanics (18 percent) being large shares (38 percent are reported as white).

3–E
CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE

Foster children are those who, for a variety of reasons (including abusive or criminal activity by parents, abandonment, or death of parents) are in the care of a state government agency. These children are a unique and challenging population for censustaking purposes because of the variety of their living arrangements. Foster care may be provided in state-funded facilities or through placement of children in the homes of individual families; in the latter case, the state government agency reciprocates by providing regular payments or the foster child’s care.30

The Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care found that 523,062 children were in some form of foster care arrangement in the United States and Puerto Rico in fiscal 2003; California’s 97,261 cases accounted for the largest share of these (18.6 percent), with New York state’s 37,067 cases (7.1 percent of the total) ranked second.31 Demographically, Pérez et al. (2003) found that, for fiscal 2000, approximately 30 percent of foster children are between ages 11 and 15; roughly 25 percent each are in the 1–5 and 6–10 age groups; and about 4 percent are 1 year old or younger. Only 2 percent are aged 19 and older; typically, foster children “age out” of the system on reaching legal adulthood at 18. Pérez et al. (2003) also found that the foster child population is disproportionately African American (41 percent); American Indian and Alaska Native children are also somewhat overrepresented in the foster child population relative to their prevalence in the general population.

30

Schwede (2003:xiii) summarizes ethnographic observation from the 2000 census that suggests that—for some non-English-speaking households—foster children may be miscounted due to terminological confusion. Specifically, the ethnographers found that the Spanish-language questionnaire used the phrase hijo de crianza for “foster child”; however, the Spanish phrase can be interpreted as a child one is raising for a friend or relative—losing the connotation of placement and supervision by the government. Conversely, the Korean-language questionnaire used a term for foster child that translates literally as “child under trusteeship,” which confused respondents.

31

See http://pewfostercare.org/research/docs/Data102705a.pdf [8/1/06].



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