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January 21, 2011

The number of children in out-of-home placements through the Department of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) has been steadily decreasing since 2004, to what what was 7,537 children this past September, compared with nearly 13,000 six years ago.

Currently, the largest segment of these children -- 26 percent -- are two years old and younger. Of the others: 17 percent are from three to five years old; 14 percent are six to nine years old; 10 percent are 10 to 12 years old; 12 percent are 13 to 15 years old and 13 percent are 16 and 17 years old. DYFS is still supervising youths who are 18 and older; they make up 8 percent of the total.

Other statistics: 52 percent of these children are male; 48 percent are female. In terms of race, 32 percent are African-American and 33 percent are white, while 16 percent are Hispanic.

Where does DYFS find homes for these children? More than half (52 percent) reside with "resource families," meaning they are not related to the children. Another 34 percent live with kin of some kind. Group and residential housing shelter 11 percent, and 2 percent live independently, although still supervised by DYFS.

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