Improving Foster Care for Young People of Color

Posted January 19, 2018
Improving foster care for young people of color

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Oppor­tu­ni­ties Ini­tia­tive and its nation­al net­work of site-lev­el part­ner­ships are con­tin­u­al­ly devel­op­ing approach­es to elim­i­nate the social, sys­temic and struc­tur­al bar­ri­ers that cre­ate dis­parate out­comes for young peo­ple of col­or in fos­ter care.

Stark and unset­tling sta­tis­tics point to the urgency of this work, such as:

  • more than 30% of His­pan­ic and Native Amer­i­can youth who have expe­ri­enced fos­ter care are par­ents at age 21;
  • more than 60% of African-Amer­i­can and Lati­no youth in fos­ter care have crossed paths with the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem; and
  • African-Amer­i­can youth are over 1.23 times more like­ly to age out of fos­ter care with­out a fam­i­ly than are their white peers.

This is a crit­i­cal time to strength­en our work and deep­en our com­mit­ment to young peo­ple who have expe­ri­enced fos­ter care,” says San­dra Gas­ca-Gon­za­lez, direc­tor of the Jim Casey Initiative.

Gas­ca-Gon­za­lez is push­ing for progress in great com­pa­ny. In Novem­ber 2017, she joined more than 200 child wel­fare experts, advo­cates and young peo­ple at the Jim Casey Initiative’s annu­al con­ven­ing. Lead­ers at the event devel­oped plans and com­mit­ments to address racial and eth­nic inequities in child wel­fare sys­tem poli­cies and prac­tices. The goal? Improve the expe­ri­ences of young peo­ple in fos­ter care and help them bet­ter pre­pare for adulthood.

Mov­ing for­ward, these lead­ers will con­tin­ue to lever­age Jim Casey Ini­tia­tive resources, such as The Road to Adult­hood report, which explores research on ado­les­cent devel­op­ment through the lens of racial and eth­nic equi­ty and inclu­sion. In con­junc­tion with this pub­li­ca­tion, a relat­ed video and prac­tice guide series aim to help car­ing adults — includ­ing child wel­fare pro­fes­sion­als, fos­ter par­ents, teach­ers and men­tors — strength­en their sup­port for young peo­ple in fos­ter care.

Anoth­er resource worth not­ing: the recent­ly launched Preg­nan­cy Pre­ven­tion and Par­ent­ing Sup­port port­fo­lio, which will offer strate­gies and tools designed to help young peo­ple make fam­i­ly plan­ning decisions.

Togeth­er, we are build­ing momen­tum,” Gas­ca-Gon­za­lez says. It is through our col­lec­tive action that we can ensure all young peo­ple who have expe­ri­enced fos­ter care have a rock-sol­id foun­da­tion that will pro­pel them toward future success.”

Read The Road to Adulthood

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