Improving Foster Care for Young People of Color

Posted January 19, 2018
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
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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