Colorado foster care in 2020

January 28, 2021

Every facet of our lives changed in 2020 as the nation dealt with the Coronavirus pandemic. While so many of us stayed home to slow the spread, county child welfare staff continued serving children and youth in foster care.

2020 Year At A Glance

  • An average of 10 children and youth entered foster care each day in Colorado in 2020. 
  • The number of certified foster and kinship parents in Colorado has held steady at 2,450 and organizations are continuing to certify new foster parents. 
  • 7,920 children and youth lived in an out-of-home placement like a foster family, group home or residential treatment center for their safety. This is a significant decrease from the total number in the previous year. In 2019, 9,483 children and youth lived in an out-of-home placement.
  • 799 children and youth in foster care were adopted. There are 462 kids in the foster care system waiting to be adopted today. To learn more about some of the children and youth waiting to be adopted visit the Colorado Heart Gallery at
  • Local county departments of human/social services assessed the safety of more than 53,000 children last year. In 2020, of the 18,035 Colorado children and youth and their families involved in an open child welfare case 69% percent of children, youth and families received services in their own homes.
  • Currently, there are 4,447 children and youth in foster care. 
  • Last year 3,116 children and youth lived with a kinship family. Kinship families are trusted, safe adults who a child or youth already knows. They can be biological fam.ily members, like an uncle or grandparent, or adults who are “like family,” such as a neighbor, friend’s parent or coach. It can be scary to live with people who you have never met, which is why kinship families are preferred.

How To Help

  • Help a parent. The best way to prevent child abuse and neglect is to strengthen families. 
    • Strengthening families can be as simple as... 
    • helping a neighbor with yard work
    • donating children’s clothing, furniture and toys for use by another family
    • letting parents know that you can help babysit their children
    • This can be challenging during a pandemic and requires open conversation between friends, family and neighbors  
    • picking up groceries on a store run
    • employers offering flexible schedules when possible
  • Become a foster parent. A foster parent can be anyone 21 or older who is ready to make a difference in the life of a child or youth. Colorado needs foster families to care for older youth, siblings and children with complex needs with a focus on supporting family reunification. Visit to learn more.
  • If you’re concerned about a child or youth’s safety and well-being, call 844-CO-4-Kids. Caseworkers can assess the situation to determine if there is a safety concern and, if needed, they can connect families to support and resources. 
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Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline
Available 24 hours a day, every day. Don't hesitate to call and get help. 
Anyone witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation should call 911 immediately.