Family is one of the primary aspects that makes up a child’s life. From birth, a child longs for the love and nurture of family. Family is the foundation that gives insights into customs, traditions, and culture. African American children are overrepresented in the foster care system, compared to the nation’s child population. Although this is the case, ironically, the majority of the caretakers are Caucasian. The very few foster parents that are African American tend to be Black women. This essentially destroys the cultural family dynamics and structures a Black child typically needs to be a successful and culturally aware adult. We live in a system that hasn’t done much for Black families, other than destroying them.
The ancestry of the African American family has been mass enslavement, mass murders, and mass incarceration. However, there has never been mass healing for Black people. The foster care system continues to take from “broken” people instead of healing and rehabilitating. They, instead, steal these kids and try to make it harder for the families of origin to get them back. The system gives the families of origin tons of blocked paths and very little direction on how to obtain the children back. Families of origin can become exhausted and feel defeated by the recommendations set by the courts. Some give up on getting their children back before even starting the process, which can sometimes leave another child in harm’s way. I just find it weird that a country that has hardly helped Black families ironically wants to help Black children by putting them with white families in the child welfare system.
Foster care is stripping Black children of their culture, traditions, and comfortability by placing them into harm’s way with no supervision and a lack of resources connecting them to their culture. Some of the justifications that I’ve been told by white foster parents who deprive their Black foster children from their culture are that the culture is “too ghetto,” the music is “too vulgar,” and “They kill each other anyway.”
Well, how do we fix this? What does mass healing look like? How do we recruit more minority parents? Honestly, I have never seen foster agencies advertising in areas that are predominantly Black such as “the hood.” I understand that inner cities can be dangerous, but urban culture is Black culture. There is simply a lack of access to potential foster parenting opportunities for Black people, leading to a low amount of Black foster parents.
If recruiting more Black foster parents is not possible, how can we teach white foster parents about other cultures so that they can teach their foster children of color? White foster parents need to relate to the child while trying to not be the child. Try and find mentors, therapists, and others who may look like them. There is clearly an issue here. We have to figure out how to not fix it, but work with it.
Other news outlets don’t cover child welfare and juvenile justice like we do.
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