At least 942 children have spent a year or longer in shelters since late September 2014.
Our analysis is based on the remaining 265,903 records for children placed in custody starting Sept. 27, 2014. The data reflects departures through Aug. 12, 2020.
We found that 942 children spent a total of a year or more in shelters, which include programs the federal government labels as shelter, secure, staff secure, therapeutic staff secure and residential treatment center. Because those shelters are considerably more restrictive than home-based placements, we did not count time spent in programs the federal government labels as group home, therapeutic group home, transitional foster care and long-term foster care. We summed the number of days children spent in shelters and excluded time they spent in group homes and foster care during their time in custody.
Of the children we categorized as in shelters for a year or more, 95 were placed before Aug. 10, 2019, and were listed as still in custody. Because the data had shown updates on children’s status through Aug. 12, 2020, we operated under the assumption that all records in the data were current as of that date.
The government did not provide locations for shelters. We added states to each location listed based on public records and sources with knowledge of locations.