Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Law and Legal Definition

Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) is a national data collection and analysis system that collects case level information on all children in foster care for whom State child welfare agencies have responsibility for placement, care or supervision, and on children who are adopted under the auspices of the State's public child welfare agency.

Foster care and adoption information reported to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) through AFCARS is the only federal national data available regarding the children in foster care and the children adopted under the auspices of a state agency. All states are required to report child-specific information to ACF semiannually through AFCARS.

The AFCARS provides ACF with data necessary to comply with congressionally-mandated reporting requirements, to measure the performance of state child welfare agencies, and to allocate incentive and formula grant funds (i.e., adoption incentive funds and Chaffee Foster Care Independence Program funds, respectively). The ACF, Congress, state child welfare agencies, and national child welfare organizations also use AFCARS data to make national policy and program decisions. Federal requirements placed on states to report AFCARS data have served to enhance national child welfare data collection.