When you look at all of the people in America, you see there are many different races. When experts break down all of the races across the country, they find that 61% are White people, 15% are Black, 17% are Hispanic, and so on. You might expect to find the same kind of breakdown if you look at the race of kids in foster care, but that’s not the case. African-American children make up 32% of kids in foster care, for example, while white children only make up 41%. Even though studies show that children of color are not at greater risk for abuse and neglect than white children, African-American children are 4 times as likely and American Indian children about 3.5 times as likely as white children to be in foster care. Individual children of color will probably stay in foster care for a longer time and are less likely to be go back to their bio family home or be adopted. Experts are trying to figure out why this happens and are studying the related problems of “disproportionality”. (1) Because of this imbalance, there may be no available foster homes for children in certain groups. Many children, when placed in foster homes with parents of a different race become detached from their culture and ethnic traditions. Some people are willing to accept this outcome because they feel that a good home to live in is more important than skin color or ethnic background. “I think that the most important thing about being placed in a foster home should be that the child is being taken care of [rather than the color of one’s skin]. The most important thing for a foster parent to do for a child is to show them that they are loved and that it doesn't matter what is on the outside. It fully matters what is on the inside. As long as everyone in the foster family gets along I don't see why race should matter.” - FosterClub member bigsister, age 21, Arkansas However, other children, when not placed in foster homes of their own race, may develop more serious emotional consequences. Living in such a situation, youths report feeling disconnected, different, and estranged. “I don't think race should matter but I also feel that if a child is placed in with a family of a different race that the child should be allowed to attend events that are based around his or her culture. The child and family should be very open to diversity because that is very important” - FosterClub member keishabug, age 24, North Carolina If you are in foster care and have been unhooked from your race, religion, culture or family traditions, it is important to speak up and advocate for your right to stay connected. Talk with your caseworkers, foster parents and mentors about your wishes. It is never too late to reestablish connections to your racial and ethnic traditions or explore your own personal identity. "A child coming into a family is like coming into a warm house after life out in the cold for a long time—the love and support of a family is like the warmth of a fire. But without foster care reform, tens of thousands of Indian children—our children—will be left out in the cold." - TRACEY KING, Fort Belknap, Tribal Council, Montana RESOURCES An Analysis Of Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality and Disparity at the National, State, and County Levels This report was written by Senior Researcher Robert B. Hill, Race Matters Consortium, Westat. It was published in December 2007 by the Casey-CSSP Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare. Focus on Foster Care: Committing to Diversity and Anti-Racism Read a 4-page briefing that tells the story of Casey's increasing involvement in communities of color, and of the changes it has effected since 1975 in services to youth, tools and resources for caseworkers, and state, tribal, and federal advocacy efforts. (need the link for this) Racial Disproportionality, Race Disparity, and Other Race-Related Findings in Published Works Derived from NSCAW This paper was published in January 2008 by the Casey-CSSP Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare. It draws on studies of data gathered during the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) to examine child welfare in the context of race and ethnicity. (need the link for this) Knowing Who You Are...Helping Youth in Care Develop Their Racial and Ethnic Identity A suite of products for social workers to help youth in care expand their awareness of racial and ethnic identity.
SOURCES The disproportionality & Disparity Page from www.fostercaremonth.org

STORIES WRITTEN BY YOUTH ABOUT DISPROPRTIONALITY Don't Label Us This story, written by a young person name Giselle, provided by Youth Communications, is about stereotypes in foster care. Click to read...

YOUNG LEADERS TESTIFYING ABOUT MAINTAINING CULTURE AND DISPROPORTIONALITY In July 2008, 2006 All Star Daryle Conquering Bear's testified in front of the U.S. Congressional Ways and Means Committee about the importance of maintaining a connection with his culture read more here...

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I am a black female and have

Anonymous's picture

I am a black female and have been in foster care since I was a baby. My family is very mixed yea my parents are white, but my sister is native american, and my other sister is mexican, although we are different we are very lucky we have a family and that loves us and we have a place to always call home.

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We all have different back

Anonymous's picture

We all have different back grounds in life and it really doesn't matter what we become as long as it had a benifical outcome and we became a better person from it

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wow!

Anonymous's picture

wow!

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wow!!!

Anonymous's picture

wow!!!

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From the time I was 10 till

Jamar_Spencer's picture

From the time I was 10 till I was 18 I was either the only black kid in my entire school or one of no more than five.

So when it came time for me to leave my foster home I went to visit my biological family and they couldnt understand me. Told me I "spoke white" which was something i heard from my peers all throughout high school that and they would say that i didnt act black ( I laughed inside all the time cause besides me the only other black people they know of is on television) what kind of effect you think someone should ( not would) have having to defend his race on a daily basis and felt that he has to represent all black people. Everytime I would talk to my foster parents, case worker, couselor, therpist I would get dang near the same response which is not a bad response but not what was needed, something along the lines as everyone is equal or the same but the truth is we can say that all we like but its not quite true.

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