The Racial Disproportionality of the Foster Care System
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Racial disproportionality has been a factor in the foster care system since 1950 when the American foster system began accepting children of color. Since then children of color have been significantly overrepresented. This disproportionality is primarily seen in African American children. In 2019 the total percentage of African American children in the United States was 14%, however the total percentage of African American children in the foster care system was 23%. No other ethnic group comes close to matching this amount of overrepresentation. This research will examine the primary causes and factors associated with this racial disproportionality. These causes include: the unconscious racial biases and prejudices that have been systematically embedded in the foster care system, systemic racism, the high rates of poverty and single-parent households among African American communities and the locality of these communities, and the effects of abuse, maltreatment, and racism in the removal of children from their homes. This research shows how each of these factors contributes to the overall problem of overrepresentation and it examines how the history of foster care contributed to this racial disproportionality.