Demographics of Children in Foster Care

The State of Georgia has approximately 12,096  children in foster care as of February 1, 2021. Children in DFCS custody can be placed in kinship homes, foster homes, adoptive homes, private agencies, group homes, hospitals, or youth detentions centers. The graph below denotes the current demographics of children in foster care:

F/A Special Needs Children

If a child is available for adoption, the parents may have volunteered to give up their parental rights, but usually these rights were terminated by the court system due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Many of the children are in the adoptive category of “Special Needs.”What does “special needs” mean?

There are many children in the custody of the DHS awaiting adoption who meet the definition of special needs for the purpose of adoption.

Children who meet the definition of special needs for the purpose of adoption include any child who:

at the time of adoptive placement has been in the care of a public or private agency or individual other than the legal or biological parent for more than 24 consecutive months
a child with a physical, mental, or emotional disability as validated by a licensed physician or psychologist
a child who is a member of sibling group of two or more placed in the same home


Georgia’s Independent Living Program (ILP) provides eligible youth currently or formerly in foster care with services to successfully prepare and transition to adulthood. ILP services are designed to provide youth with the life skills and education necessary to become self-sufficient, live independently, and maintain stable employment. Services include life skills training, financial assistance, and educational and social support. Foster and Adoptive families can provide a forever family for a teen and guide them through the ILP program.