Black children are overrepresented in child welfare, and it’s a systemic issue. For instance, in Harris County, Black children make up 18% of the child population and 47% of children who enter foster care. Compare this to white children: they make up 22% of the child population and only 16% of the children who are removed from their homes. Moreover, Black children also face unfair barriers to permanency.
We recently learned this from Reiko Boyd from the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work at our Disrupting Disproportionality webinar. This blog post features her snapshot of what Black children experience in the foster care system and our response as a result: a new initiative called It Takes a Village.
Snapshot of Disproportionality and Disparity
Research shows that disproportionality and disparity exist across systems. From juvenile justice, education, health, and child welfare, Black children face unfair barriers. “We have a historical and current context of unequal opportunities… shaped by historical and current racism,” said Ms. Boyd. “In child welfare, disproportionality and disparity exist at every decision point in the system.” This includes:
- Allegations and Investigations
- Entry into foster care
To put it plainly, Black children are more likely to enter foster care and wait longer for permanent placements. They are less likely to reunite with their birth parents and less likely to receive quality services like mental health care. They are also less likely to be adopted. As a result, Black children suffer in the child welfare system more than other children.
Improving the System for Black Children
We know that we need more families who can provide a safe, loving environment where Black children can thrive culturally. “Our children have so much stacked against them,” said Felicia, a foster and adoptive mother who shared her story in the Disrupting Disproportionality webinar. “They need someone who looks like them who can help them navigate the system.” So we launched It Takes a Village to address this issue. To learn more about how you can give children a loving home through foster care or adoption, register for one of our It Takes a Village Information Sessions.
It Takes a Village
Our It Takes a Village initiative will improve child welfare for Black children in two ways:
- Find quality families to parent Black children in foster care by fostering or adopting
- Create a community to educate the public about the need for foster and adoptive families for Black children
Together, we can improve the outcomes for Black children in our community. If you are interested in learning how you can help, we invite you to Join our Village.