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Number of Children in Foster Care Has Increased Sharply

The Department of Health and Human Services reports the number of children in foster care has increased by more than 15,000 children in just one year. The annual report, which was released Wednesday, tallied 415,129 children in the foster care system, a number that is so baffling that HHS officials have no definitive answer for its cause.

"We are concerned about any increases in the foster care numbers, and we are working hard with our state partners to better understand the reasons behind the increase," said Rafael Lopez, commissioner of the department's Administration on Children, Youth and Families told ABC News.

Three-fourths of the children in care last year were living with foster families, while 14 percent were in group homes or institutions. Some 4,544 foster children were listed as runaways.

A decline in international adoption rates, coupled with an increase in foster care rates, indicates Americans may have shifted their attitudes towards parenting. Of the children in foster care a year ago, more than half were boys; 22 percent were Hispanic, 24 percent black and 42 percent white. Nearly 108,000 of them were available for adoption, an increase of more than 4,000 children available for adoption as tallied in 2013.

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