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Seeing Beyond our Own Time: A Celebration of African American Life and History A Look at Foster Care Ruth G. McRoy Davis.

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Presentation on theme: "Seeing Beyond our Own Time: A Celebration of African American Life and History A Look at Foster Care Ruth G. McRoy Davis."— Presentation transcript:

1 Seeing Beyond our Own Time: A Celebration of African American Life and History A Look at Foster Care Ruth G. McRoy Davis

2 The Covenant with Black America by Tavis Smiley Calls upon all parents, educators, preachers, social service providers, community leaders and policy-makers to act now and create a brighter future for our children. Calls upon all parents, educators, preachers, social service providers, community leaders and policy-makers to act now and create a brighter future for our children.

3 The Covenant addresses 10 Issues: Health Care Health Care Education Education Justice Justice Policing Policing Affordable Neighborhoods Affordable Neighborhoods Democracy Rural Roots Economic Prosperity Environmental Justice Digital Divide

4 Today we will address Covenant XI Covenant XI Children in Foster Care Children in Foster Care

5 According to AFCARS estimates for Sept ,000 children in the US foster care system 513,000 children in the US foster care system White, 41% White, 41% Black, Non-Hispanic 32% Black, Non-Hispanic 32% Hispanic, 18% Hispanic, 18% AI/AN Non Hispanic 2% AI/AN Non Hispanic 2% Asian/PI NI Non-Hispanic 1% Asian/PI NI Non-Hispanic 1% Unknown 2% Unknown 2% Two or more races 3% Two or more races 3%

6 Overrepresentation If a particular racial/ethnic group of children is represented in foster care at a higher percentage than they are represented in the general population If a particular racial/ethnic group of children is represented in foster care at a higher percentage than they are represented in the general population

7 Disproportionality A situation in which a particular racial/ethnic group of children is represented in foster care at a higher percentage than other racial/ethnic groups A situation in which a particular racial/ethnic group of children is represented in foster care at a higher percentage than other racial/ethnic groups (I.e. If 5% of all White children are in care, then 5% of African American, Hispanic etc.) (I.e. If 5% of all White children are in care, then 5% of African American, Hispanic etc.)

8 U.S. Child Population under 18 (% in care) 61% White (41% in care) 61% White (41% in care) 17% Hispanic/Latino (18% in care) 17% Hispanic/Latino (18% in care) 15% African American (32% in care) 15% African American (32% in care) 3% Asian American (1% in care) 3% Asian American (1% in care) 1% American Indian/AN (2% in care) 1% American Indian/AN (2% in care)

9 92,344 California children in foster Care California has the largest foster care population in the U.S. California has the largest foster care population in the U.S. More than the population of Davis (64,348) More than the population of Davis (64,348) Slightly less than the population of Roseville (98,359) and the population of Berkeley (102,004) Slightly less than the population of Roseville (98,359) and the population of Berkeley (102,004)

10 Good News: Number in California foster care has decreased by 8% from 2003 to 2005 Number in California foster care has decreased by 8% from 2003 to 2005 In 2000 there were 108,000 in foster care. In 2000 there were 108,000 in foster care.

11 Demographics of the 92,344 California children in Foster Care 27% between 0 and 5 27% between 0 and 5 30% between 6 and 12 30% between 6 and 12 42% between 13 and 21 42% between 13 and 21 Average number of months in care-- 38 months (30 months nationally) Average number of months in care-- 38 months (30 months nationally) 46% have experienced three or more foster care placements (42% nationally) 46% have experienced three or more foster care placements (42% nationally) Majority of children come into care because of parental neglect Majority of children come into care because of parental neglect

12 Special Challenges for Youth Experienced abuse and neglect Experienced abuse and neglect Physical and mental health problems Physical and mental health problems Developmental delays Developmental delays Educational difficulties Educational difficulties Mild to severe psychological and behavioral difficulties Mild to severe psychological and behavioral difficulties Multiple moves/losses Multiple moves/losses Sibling and other family connections Sibling and other family connections Concerns/Fears about adoption Concerns/Fears about adoption

13 Californias foster children 47,429 waiting to be reunified 47,429 waiting to be reunified 5% or 4,852 waiting to be adopted 5% or 4,852 waiting to be adopted Avg. time foster care children have been Avg. time foster care children have been waiting to be adopted-- 46 months (42 months nationally) waiting to be adopted-- 46 months (42 months nationally)

14 AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILDREN IN CARE IN CALIFORNIA African American children represent 6.7 % of the under 17 population. African American children represent 6.7 % of the under 17 population. But represent 29% of those in social services care But represent 29% of those in social services care 23,436 children in care are African American 23,436 children in care are African American 32 OUT OF EVERY 1000 African American children in California are in foster care 32 OUT OF EVERY 1000 African American children in California are in foster care

15 Black kids more often taken from families by social workers Recent news headline Recent news headline Santa Clara CountyBlack children represented only 2.4% of the population younger than 17 in the county, but accounted for 12.8 percent of children in the child welfare system in 2005, more than 7 times the rate of White children. Santa Clara CountyBlack children represented only 2.4% of the population younger than 17 in the county, but accounted for 12.8 percent of children in the child welfare system in 2005, more than 7 times the rate of White children.

16 Needell, Brookhart, & Lee (2003) Needell, Brookhart, & Lee (2003) found that Black children in California are more likely than White or Hispanic children to be removed from their caretaker and placed in care, even when age, reason for maltreatment, neighborhood poverty are taken into account. Needell, Brookhart, & Lee (2003) found that Black children in California are more likely than White or Hispanic children to be removed from their caretaker and placed in care, even when age, reason for maltreatment, neighborhood poverty are taken into account.

17 County Data Alameda County Alameda County 15% of child population is Black 15% of child population is Black 67% of children in care are Black 67% of children in care are Black Contra Costa County Contra Costa County 11% of Child population is Black 11% of Child population is Black 46% of children in care are Black 46% of children in care are Black Solano County Solano County 17% of child population is Black 17% of child population is Black 40% of children in care are Black 40% of children in care are Black

18 Annually about 11% or 4,535 California children exit care at 18 or older Another 7% (2,877) leave for other reasons Another 7% (2,877) leave for other reasons Including running away, transfer, or death Including running away, transfer, or death

19 Nationally, about 20,000 children age out of foster care with no place to go. Former foster children are 22 times more likely to be homeless than peers and one- third end up poor. Former foster children are 22 times more likely to be homeless than peers and one- third end up poor.

20 Child Welfare Decision Point Analysis Identify points where change in representation occurs Identify points where change in representation occurs Report/no report Report/no report Investigation/no investigation Investigation/no investigation Substantiation/no substantiation Substantiation/no substantiation Case closed/no services/in home services/out of home care (kin,foster) Case closed/no services/in home services/out of home care (kin,foster) Reunification/adoption/remain in care or age out Reunification/adoption/remain in care or age out

21 Percent of African American vs. White Children: in population, victims, entering foster care, in foster care, and waiting for adoption Child Maltreatment 2002: p. 23 National Adoption and Foster Care Statistics : Estimates based on AFCARS data 3/04

22 African American children in California Are more likely than White or Latino children to be reported for abuse, and more likely to be placed in foster care, particularly if they are infants. They are less likely to be reunified and adopted than children of other races (Needell, et al, 2004). Are more likely than White or Latino children to be reported for abuse, and more likely to be placed in foster care, particularly if they are infants. They are less likely to be reunified and adopted than children of other races (Needell, et al, 2004).

23 Possible Explanations Disproportionate need Disproportionate need Societal discriminatory practices over which the child welfare systems have little or no control. Societal discriminatory practices over which the child welfare systems have little or no control. Discriminatory practices within the child welfare system (Needell, et al. 2003). Discriminatory practices within the child welfare system (Needell, et al. 2003).

24 Considerations in Disproportionality Poverty Lindsey (1991) and Pelton (1989) Lindsey (1991) and Pelton (1989) Parental income is the best predictor of child removal and placement Parental income is the best predictor of child removal and placement Majority of children in care from single parent, low-income households. Majority of children in care from single parent, low-income households.

25 Differential attributions and labeling bias Physicians may be more likely to attribute injury to abuse in lower income homes. Physicians may be more likely to attribute injury to abuse in lower income homes.

26 (Pelton, 1989, pp ) The reason for placement is that the family, frequently due to poverty does not have the resources to offset the impact of situational or personal problems which themselves are often caused by poverty, and the agencies have failed to provide the needed supports, such as baby sitting, homemaking, day care, financial assistance, and housing assistance. The reason for placement is that the family, frequently due to poverty does not have the resources to offset the impact of situational or personal problems which themselves are often caused by poverty, and the agencies have failed to provide the needed supports, such as baby sitting, homemaking, day care, financial assistance, and housing assistance.

27 In California 1 in 5 children lives in a household that earns less than the federal poverty level ($16,600 per year for a family of three). 1 in 5 children lives in a household that earns less than the federal poverty level ($16,600 per year for a family of three). 1 in 3 African American, Latino and Native American children, ages 5 and younger, lives in a very low-income family. 1 in 3 African American, Latino and Native American children, ages 5 and younger, lives in a very low-income family. One in 12 White children lives in a very low income family. One in 12 White children lives in a very low income family.

28 Neglect Often product of poverty Often product of poverty Parents under scrutiny/more likely to be reported Parents under scrutiny/more likely to be reported

29 According to The State of Black California Black poverty rate is 22.4% compared to the White poverty rate at 8%. Black poverty rate is 22.4% compared to the White poverty rate at 8%. 33.9% of Black children live in two parent families as compared to 72% of White children. 33.9% of Black children live in two parent families as compared to 72% of White children. Blacks higher in felony arrests, misdemeanor arrests, homicide rates for males and females; higher in school dropout rates Blacks higher in felony arrests, misdemeanor arrests, homicide rates for males and females; higher in school dropout rates

30 The State of Black California: Racial Inequality Blacks economic standing is a little over half that of Whites Blacks economic standing is a little over half that of Whites Blacks housing quality, health index, education, criminal justice index Blacks housing quality, health index, education, criminal justice index is about two-thirds that of Whites. is about two-thirds that of Whites. Only index in which Blacks scored higher is civic participation. Only index in which Blacks scored higher is civic participation.

31 Child Maltreatment Reporting AA families more likely to be reported for suspected child abuse and neglect, YET NIS-1,NIS2,NIS3--estimates about incidence of child abuse and neglect reported NO differences in incidence of child abuse and neglect by racial group NIS-1,NIS2,NIS3--estimates about incidence of child abuse and neglect reported NO differences in incidence of child abuse and neglect by racial group

32 Parental Substance Abuse Parental substance abuse reason for 42% of children who were victims of abuse and neglect Parental substance abuse reason for 42% of children who were victims of abuse and neglect In 77% of these cases, alcohol was the problem substance, and cocaine in 23% In 77% of these cases, alcohol was the problem substance, and cocaine in 23% Alcohol and drug related cases more likely to result in foster care placements than other cases (DHHS, 1999) Alcohol and drug related cases more likely to result in foster care placements than other cases (DHHS, 1999) Black women more likely to be reported for prenatal substance abuse and Black women more likely to be reported for prenatal substance abuse and more likely to have children removed more likely to have children removed

33 Relationship between poverty and child welfare outcomes Lower likelihood of reunification Lower likelihood of reunification Family does not have resources to offset situational or personal problems caused by poverty homelessness, lack of child care, poor health, violent neighborhoods, substance involvement, involvement with criminal justice system. Family does not have resources to offset situational or personal problems caused by poverty homelessness, lack of child care, poor health, violent neighborhoods, substance involvement, involvement with criminal justice system. Poor children less likely to be returned to their families and less likely to be adopted than children from higher income families. Poor children less likely to be returned to their families and less likely to be adopted than children from higher income families.

34 Relationship between race and child welfare outcomes African Americans disproportionately poor African Americans disproportionately poor Disparate family preservation service delivery Disparate family preservation service delivery Inequities in child maltreatment reporting, service provision, kinship care, family preservation, exit rates, length of care, placement stability and adoption (Courtney 1996, Barth, 1994) Inequities in child maltreatment reporting, service provision, kinship care, family preservation, exit rates, length of care, placement stability and adoption (Courtney 1996, Barth, 1994) Less likely to have plans for visitation (Olsen, 1982) Less likely to have plans for visitation (Olsen, 1982) Enter care at younger ages (Kemp & Bodonyi, 2000) Enter care at younger ages (Kemp & Bodonyi, 2000)

35 Differential Service Provision Lack of culturally competent child protective service workers Lack of culturally competent child protective service workers Most have no training in service provision to African Americans, Hispanics and American Indians Most have no training in service provision to African Americans, Hispanics and American Indians Most lack training in risk assessments, child dev., parenting, etc. Most lack training in risk assessments, child dev., parenting, etc.

36 Disparities not Unique to Child Welfare Also occur in Also occur in Special Education Special Education Health Health Mental Health Mental Health Criminal Justice Criminal Justice

37 What can be done? Nationally Nationally Within the State or County Within the State or County Within the community Within the community By individuals By individuals

38 Rep. Rangel Started Inquiry into the High Number of Black Children in Foster Care into the High Number of Black Children in Foster Care Releases Data Showing Significant Over-Representation and Requests Investigation from the GAO Releases Data Showing Significant Over-Representation and Requests Investigation from the GAO

39 The statistics tell us that too many African American children spend too much time in our foster care system. We need answers to what might be causing this troubling over- representation, and then we need to take corrective action. I am hopeful that an investigation by the GAO will start us down that path. The statistics tell us that too many African American children spend too much time in our foster care system. We need answers to what might be causing this troubling over- representation, and then we need to take corrective action. I am hopeful that an investigation by the GAO will start us down that path. In the meantime, there are clearly some immediate steps Congress can take to help all children in the child welfare system, such as increasing access to services that help at- risk families safely stay together or reunify. " In the meantime, there are clearly some immediate steps Congress can take to help all children in the child welfare system, such as increasing access to services that help at- risk families safely stay together or reunify. "

40

41 Select Committee on Foster Care- Karen Bass, Chair Challenges and hurdles facing relative caregivers Challenges and hurdles facing relative caregivers Critical needs of teens in foster care and emancipation Critical needs of teens in foster care and emancipation Importance of the court and legal process Importance of the court and legal process

42 Assembly Bill 672 February 21, 2007 February 21, 2007 Introduced by Assembly Member Beall Introduced by Assembly Member Beall Will require the California Child Welfare Council to prepare a workplan and appoint a committee to develop a statewide vision and strategy for reducing the inappropriate disproportionate representation of children of color in Californias child welfare and foster care systems. Will require the California Child Welfare Council to prepare a workplan and appoint a committee to develop a statewide vision and strategy for reducing the inappropriate disproportionate representation of children of color in Californias child welfare and foster care systems.

43 Disparities not unique to California Studies recently completed in MN, Michigan, Texas Childrens Rights Law Suit in Tennessee

44 The State of Black California: Racial Inequality Blacks economic standing is a little over half that of Whites Blacks economic standing is a little over half that of Whites Blacks housing quality, health index, education, criminal justice index Blacks housing quality, health index, education, criminal justice index is about two-thirds that of Whites. is about two-thirds that of Whites. Only index in which Blacks scored higher is civic participation. Only index in which Blacks scored higher is civic participation.

45 Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare By Dorothy Roberts By Dorothy Roberts State disruption of families is one symptom of this institutionalized discrimination. It reflects the persistent gulf between the material welfare of Black and White children in America. The racial disparity in the child welfare systemeven if related directly to economic inequality, ultimately results from racial injustice. State disruption of families is one symptom of this institutionalized discrimination. It reflects the persistent gulf between the material welfare of Black and White children in America. The racial disparity in the child welfare systemeven if related directly to economic inequality, ultimately results from racial injustice.

46 Assess which political candidates are addressing these disparities.

47 Need to assess what we can do to prevent child removals Churches Churches Adopt a Family Adopt a Family Civic Organizations Civic Organizations Address issues of substance abuse Address issues of substance abuse and other causes of neglect and abuse and other causes of neglect and abuse One Stop shoppingCompton approach One Stop shoppingCompton approach

48 Reaching churches Singleton and Roseman (2004) reported in their recent study of 51 Black ministers in Florida that 83% of the ministers had never included the topic of foster care or adoption in sermons and most had no experience with adoption or foster care. Singleton and Roseman (2004) reported in their recent study of 51 Black ministers in Florida that 83% of the ministers had never included the topic of foster care or adoption in sermons and most had no experience with adoption or foster care. We need to reach out to African American churches and ministers more in order to enlist support and family resources for children in the system. We need to reach out to African American churches and ministers more in order to enlist support and family resources for children in the system.

49 Become an Adoptive or Foster Parent or Recruit Families 513,000 children in care 513,000 children in care 114,000 children awaiting adoption (2005) 114,000 children awaiting adoption (2005) Average of 8.6 years old now Average of 8.6 years old now 36% are African American 36% are African American

50 Need to look at experiences of youth in foster care Educational outcomes for youth in schools (Struggling children in struggling schools) Educational outcomes for youth in schools (Struggling children in struggling schools) Number of moves Number of moves Services in care Services in care

51 Small Scale Change One child and family at a time One child and family at a time No more blame No more blame Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) What am I going to do by next Tuesday? What am I going to do by next Tuesday? Organize or partner with community groups to get involved and get people motivated. Organize or partner with community groups to get involved and get people motivated.

52 What can you do? Be a tutor Be a tutor Be a foster parent Be a foster parent Be a respite provider Be a respite provider Become an adoptive parent Become an adoptive parent Recruit families Recruit families Tell others about the children Tell others about the children Let people in your church know about the needs Let people in your church know about the needs Luggage needs Luggage needs

53 Bobby – 8 years old Bobby loves to play with his toys, especially balls and trucks. He has a great laugh. He is very healthy and has never been seriously ill. He plays well with other children. He is in therapy every other week. He is a grade little in school, but he is doing well at this time. Bobby is tall for his age and has been in the 90th to 95th percentile for his age at most stages of life. He loves playing basketball and wants to be like Shaq. He has had some problems with speech early in life, which may come back in the first months of his adoptive placement, but he should overcome these issues quickly as he adjusts to his adoptive home. Bobby would do well in a one or two parent home. In a single parent home, he would probably do better with a single male. He needs a family that can help him at home with developmental skills and that will be involved with his education. He needs a family that will advocate for him at school. He needs a family that can monitor his progress to make sure that he does not fall behind in his gross and fine motor skills as well as his speech. He would benefit from a family that has parented, foster parented, and/or adopted previously.

54 Terrell – 11 years old –still has hope Terrell is a soft-spoken, loving child. He is shy when meeting new people and takes time to warm up to them. Terrell likes playing outside. He loves playing football and basketball. Terrell enjoys staying active and participating in activities. He has been waiting for six years and hopes his chance for a family comes along soon. He is now in fifth grade.

55 What can you do? Be a CASA volunteer Be a CASA volunteer Be a mentor Be a mentor Become an advocate Become an advocate Do talks on prevention Do talks on prevention Help families before they get caught up in the system Help families before they get caught up in the system

56 Transitional Living Services Every child needs to be connected to a caring adult who can provide guidance, support, and connection to opportunities and pathways to a secure productive future. Every child needs to be connected to a caring adult who can provide guidance, support, and connection to opportunities and pathways to a secure productive future.

57 The eyes of the future are looking back at us, and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. The eyes of the future are looking back at us, and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. Terry Tempest Williams Terry Tempest Williams

58 THE CHILDREN ARE WAITING. THE CHILDREN ARE WAITING.


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