The National Family Preservation Network wishes to express its support for the African American community. We’ve been very distressed by the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many, many others. We stand against racism in all its forms, especially violence.
For decades we’ve been aware that Black families and children are disproportionally represented in the child welfare system. This situation has been researched and explored by numerous entities. Here are a few key points:
- Thirty-three percent of kids in foster care are African-American, but they make up only 15 percent of the child population … Yet federal studies indicate that child abuse and neglect is actually lower for black families than it is for whites. (https://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/disproportionality-and-disparity-in-child-welfare.aspx)
- A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that despite similar rates of substance use between Black and white pregnant women, Black women were 10 times more likely to be reported to child welfare authorities for substance use during pregnancy. Other studies have found that doctors are more likely to report injuries on Black children as suspected child abuse than identical injuries on white children. Still other studies have found that caseworkers are quicker to perceive Black children as being at risk and in need of removal from their homes. (https://theappeal.org/black-families-matter-how-the-child-welfare-system-punishes-poor-families-of-color-33ad20e2882e/)
- The child welfare community has moved from acknowledging the problem of racial and ethnic disproportionality and disparity in the child welfare system to formulating and implementing possible solutions … As jurisdictions and agencies evaluate their systems to identify where and how disproportionality and disparity are occurring, they are seeking changes that show promise for their own populations. (https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/racial_disproportionality.pdf)
Despite the previous point, we have a very long way to go to protect African Americans from unjust treatment at every level. It’s an enormous, heartbreaking endeavor, but we know that numerous others join us in this effort.
Barack Obama recently said, “… I want to speak directly to the young men and women of color in this country, who … have witnessed too much violence and too much death. And too often, some of that violence has come from folks who were supposed to be serving and protecting you. I want you to know that you matter, I want you to know that your lives matter, that your dreams matter. And when I go home and I look at the faces of my daughters, Sasha and Malia, and I look at my nephews and nieces, I see limitless potential that deserves to flourish and thrive, and you should be able to learn and make mistakes and live a life of joy without having to worry about what’s going to happen …”
Posted by Michelle Reines, NFPN Executive Director