In 2011, the African American population made up 14% of all children nationwide, but 27% of all foster children. The good news is, this number is on the decline. According to the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, between 2002 and 2011 the number of African American foster children declined by more than 40 percent, compared to an average of 15 percent in other ethnic groups. This major reduction is thanks in large part to better outreach efforts to keep families together, as well as greater success with placing African American children in forever homes.
The bad news is, African American children are still significantly overrepresented compared to most other ethnic groups in the foster care system. And, once in foster care, African American children tend to remain in the system longer than other children. African American foster kids are more likely to face long-term challenges such as being homeless or unemployed, or spending time in jail.
Some foster families may feel like taking in an African American foster child presents too great a cultural barrier. Others worry that they won’t be able to provide for the child’s unique needs. However, a loving home is a step in the right direction for any foster child, and there are many resources available to those families who open up their homes and hearts to a foster child from an ethnic background than their own.
African American Resources for Caregivers