Keeping neglected and abused children in family settings and out of institutions is a goal of child welfare systems nationwide, but it’s an area where Tennessee has been losing ground.
In 2017, 77% of children entering foster care were placed either with relatives or foster families. That’s down from 79% a decade before. The problem is greatest with teenagers, where Tennessee fell from placing 58% with families in 2007 to just under half in 2017.
That’s according to a study released Tuesday from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count project.
Tennessee is also below the national average of 86% placement in family settings in 2017.
A news release on the report says the opioid crisis has complicated Tennessee’s efforts to reduce the number of children in foster care.