Studies: Disproportionate Number of Black Children Wind Up in L.A. Foster Care

Ben Baeder, Daily News, March 23, 2013

Eight out of every 100 children in Los Angeles County are black. And 29 out of every 100 children in foster care are black.

That jump in proportion, which is common statewide, is one of the most controversial discussions in the child welfare community.

And when black children go into foster care, they get stuck there 50 percent longer than children of other races.

During the 2000s, social work experts suspected that institutional bias and racism by social workers caused the high proportion of black children in foster care.

Leaders in the social work community made that assumption based on decades-old data that showed that black children were abused and maltreated at the same rate as children of other ethnic classifications.

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But new studies show that black children die and are mistreated by family members more often than other kids. And instead of rooting out alleged racism, the county now faces a more nuanced and difficult task–getting into black neighborhoods and finding out how to best help children who are mistreated.

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But if racism is a factor, then the racism would come from a staff made up mostly of ethnic minorities.

The number of black children in foster care is almost identical to the percentage of black social workers.

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