May 16, 2019 Foster Care Awareness and National Mental Health Month Did you know that May is Foster Care Awareness Month and National Mental Health Month? In recognition of these important subjects, Every Child Inc. has highlighted information and statistics for individuals to consider as we work to better support Pennsylvania’s children, families, caregivers, and community members. Foster Care Facts Approximately 13,000 – 15,000 PA children are currently in foster care and part of the child welfare system. Between 400,000 – 500,000 children in the U.S. are in foster care each year. In 2013, more than 8,000 youth 13 and older lived in the foster care system in PA. One in four PA youth who “age out” of the system experience homelessness and/or struggle with mental health challenges such as depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders, with nearly 1 in 4 youth having been arrested since leaving care. Young PA women in foster care are two and a half times more likely to become pregnant by 19 than young women were not in foster care. Mental Health Facts ADHD, behavior problems, anxiety, and depression are the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children. Treatment rates vary among different mental disorders: Nearly 8 in 10 children (78.1%) aged 3-17 years with depression received treatment. 6 in 10 children (59.3%) aged 3-17 years with anxiety received treatment. More than 5 in 10 children (53.5%) aged 3-17 years with behavior disorders received treatment. Mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders begin in early childhood: 1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2–8 years (17.4%) had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.