By Russell Contreras

Underfunded and overstressed foster care systems are bracing for new pressures if the overturning of Roe v. Wade sends more children their way.

Why it matters: About 424,000 children in foster care on any given day already face shortages of placements, low high school graduation rates, and disproportionately high rates of incarceration and homelessness. Without new funding and accountability, these problems may only get worse.

Zoom in: Child welfare advocates say they’re concerned about a growing foster care-to-prison pipeline.

What they’re saying: “We’re really concerned that this could blow it up,” Mariah Craven of the National Foster Youth Institute told Axios.

Background: Surges in drug addiction by biological parents have prompted foster care systems struggling with capacity issues to place children into emergency shelters, hotels, out-of-state institutions and youth prisons.

By the numbers: The average placement of children in state care is longer than a year and a half, and 5% of children in foster care are there for five or more years, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The other side: Abortion foes say the post-Roe world is a chance for religious-based groups to build an infrastructure to facilitate more adoptions or help biological parents through faith.

The bottom line: Abortion services in states like Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama have been limited for years and religious-based groups have barely made a dent in foster care system problems.

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