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FosterMore Poll Takeaways

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FosterMore recently conducted a national survey of more than 2,000 adults. The following are the key takeaways.

Strong Support for Foster Care
Three-quarters of US adults believe improving government and non-profit programs for young people in foster care should be a high priority. The support is broad, bipartisan and across the age and gender spectrums.

Improving government programs for foster youth is a high priority regardless of parental status, but particularly for respondents with children under age 19. (Have children under 19: 85%, have children 19+ at home: 77%, have children 19+ not at home: 70%, Do not have children: 74%)

African American and Latino respondents carried the highest level of intensity for supporting improved foster care systems among the reporting racial groups. (African Americans: 87%, Latinos: 83%, White: 73% and AAPI: 73%)

People with some knowledge of the system were much more likely to consider improving government programs for foster youth a priority. (Very familiar 94%, somewhat familiar 85%, not too familiar 74% and not familiar at all 64%)

Approximately 8 in 10 respondents under age 50 think improving government programs for young people in foster care should be at least a “very high” priority; nearly 7 in 10 respondents over age 50 agree. 

Tremendous Confusion Around the Term “Child Welfare”
Only one in four respondents correctly identified the definition of “Child Welfare” as “the system of supporting children who are separated from their birth families due to death, abuse, neglect, or another cause.” The term was confused with “the system of providing cash, food stamps or other benefits to very low-income children and families” by twenty percent of respondents. Over forty percent of those surveyed believe both definitions to be accurate and thirteen percent weren’t able to answer the question.

The lesson for the field is that while the services provided to children and families involved with the foster care system are designed to benefit the well-being (or welfare) of the child, most of the public interprets the word “welfare” to mean governmental payments or entitlements designed to support a young person. A shift in vernacular could increase support among the public.

Messaging to Encourage Governmental Support
Respondents were asked to read different messaging on the topic and state how convincing they found each statement as a reason to improve systems for foster youth.




Very Convincing Somewhat Convincing Total Convincing

There are over 400,000 kids in foster care in the United States


59% 31% 90%
Children enter foster care because their parents are no longer able to take care  of them, not because the children have committed crimes or are dangerous.


54% 33% 89%

About 700 kids enter the foster care system every day in the United States


54% 33% 87%


Powerful Messaging
The most convincing messages for making it a priority to improve foster systems described foster youth as vulnerable and needing help or focused on preventing future costs and homelessness.




Very Convincing Somewhat Convincing Total Convincing
RIGHT THING TO DO: Children in foster care are some of the most vulnerable members of our community and they do not have the family support system that most of us take for granted. They need our help because their parents are not able to care for them, not because the children have done anything wrong. They need all of us to do more to support them with mentoring, fostering, adoption and more so they have an opportunity to live healthy, productive lives and find success when they reach adulthood.


58% 33% 91%

FUTURE COSTS: Each year, more than 20,000 foster youth reach adulthood with no support system and no permanent family. These young people have a much higher risk of homelessness, drug addiction, unplanned pregnancy,
and jail. It would be smarter for the state to provide more support to help  them have a strong start in their adult life, instead of paying for the costs of leaving them to fend for themselves.


57% 33% 90%

HOMELESSNESS: Each year, more than 20,000 foster youth reach the end of the state support system they have received but without a permanent family. These young people have a much higher risk of homelessness; in fact, it is estimated that half of the homeless population in America spent time in foster care. We should provide more support for foster youth now to prevent homelessness later on.

56% 32% 88%


Exposure to Messaging Increases Support
Respondents were asked at the beginning and end of the survey to state the intensity of their support for prioritizing foster care improvements by government and nonprofit organizations.  After receiving the messages mentioned above, there was a 5-8 point increase in the intensity of their support for making it an “extremely high priority.” Those viewing it as an “extremely high priority” for government increased by 5 points and 8 points for nonprofit organizations. 


Dates: August 11-22, 2022
Sample: 2,089 US Adults
Margin of Error: +/- 2.2% at the 95 percent confidence level
Data Collection: Online Interviews
Polling Agency: FM3 Research (Fairbank, Maslin, Maulin, Metz & Associates)


For more information, please contact Jennifer Perry at