Black youth (ages 0 to 17) are disproportionately overrepresented in the foster care system. Making up just 14% of the child population in 2018, they accounted for 23% of all youth in foster care that year. According to the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Black children also “are 2.5 times more likely to be placed in foster care. Once in foster care, Black foster youth stay longer and are far less likely to be adopted.” And in Pennsylvania, as of 2016, 43% of Black youth in the state were in foster care.
The overarching reason behind this disparity is well known to be racial discrimination.
The good news is that the numbers have actually been improving, having declined from 30% in 2009 to 23% in 2016 (the rate has been stagnant at 23% since). But some good news is not enough. In fact, it’s far from it.
As Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said when the county’s Department of Children and Family Services created an Office of Equity, “We want to create the kinds of programs and systems that allow us to make the best, most culturally competent decisions we can for our 30,000 children in foster care.”
In short, we have work to do.