“Erie County places a disproportionate number of African-American children into foster care,” the Pennsylvania Partnerships said in releasing its new statewide report on foster care. “While African-American children comprise only 9 percent of the county’s child population, 41 percent of the children in foster care are African-American.”
Statewide, according to the study, black children make up 15.8 percent of the population, and 47.2 percent of the children in foster care are African-American.
The Pennsylvania Partnerships did not offer reasons for the high rate in Erie County. The group’s president and chief executive, Joan Benso. She said Erie County would be in a better position to examine detailed data to “double-check to make sure there isn’t anything inadvertently driving a higher level of placement” for black children.