Foster Care in America
A Reference Handbook
by Christina G. Villegas
May 2022, 292pp, 6 x 9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7429-1
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7430-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

More than 400,000 children (with an average age under seven years old) reside in foster homes every day in America.

America's foster care system has a noble goal—to care for children that for various reasons can no longer be cared for by their families—but years of inattention and inadequate funding have left many foster youth in a precarious state.

This resource provides a comprehensive and authoritative overview of the American foster care system. Areas of coverage include the scaffolding of foster care systems in the various states (each of which operate their own unique systems through their social service agencies); conditions under which children are taken out of their families of origin and placed in foster care; the experiences of both young children and older teens in foster homes; challenges for foster children who “age out” of the system; and proposals to reform and improve foster care across the nation.

Geared for students, this book contains chapters devoted to the background and history of foster care in America; the systems’s problems, controversies, and solutions; original essay contributions exploring various facets of the system; profiles of leading foster care activists and organizations; governmental data and excerpts of primary documents on the topic; and an annotated list of important books, scholarly journals, and nonprint sources for further research. It closes with a detailed chronology, glossary of terms, and subject index.


  • Provides a complete, accessible explanation of how the foster care system works
  • Emphasizes the experiences of children placed in foster care
  • Highlights efforts and proposals aimed at improving the experiences and outcomes for children and families interacting with America's child welfare system
  • Details the challenges that face foster children that "age out" of the system
Christina G. Villegas, PhD, is an associate professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino who has written widely on topics relating to America's founding, the U.S. Constitution, and public policy.


"Worth strong consideration by both public and academic libraries."—Library Journal, July 1, 2022

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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