The number of children in the U.S. foster care system has dropped for a second year in a row.

That’s according to new federal data which also show that a record number of children in the child welfare system were able to find adoptive homes in 2019.

The annual report from the Department of Health and Human Services counted about 424,000 children in foster care as of Sept. 30, 2019.

That’s down from about 435,000 a year earlier.

Back in 2002, there were more than a half-million children in foster care.

The number dropped steadily to below 400,000 in 2012 before rising again as the opioid epidemic began to worsen.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.