Examining the Overrepresentation of African Americans in the Foster Care System from a Policy Perspective
Dr. Virginia Beard
In 2013, African Americans made up 14% of the 0-17 population and 24% of the 0-17 population in foster care in the United States (2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book). Statistics on the obstacles facing youth when they exit—through aging out—the foster care system are frightening as these young adults are at a much greater risk for being diagnosed with a mental health disorder, experiencing homelessness, living in poverty and dropping out of high school. The issue of the overrepresentation of African American children in foster care has experienced increased legislative attention in the last ten years specifically; however, it will continue to remain an important policy issue until it is eradicated. Potential policy solutions include: increasing the size and scope of available social services, expanding the emphasis on cultural competency training, and reorganizing funding to allow for stipends in guardianship placements. This project seeks to explain policy change under this topic from the viewpoints of Institutional Theory and Elite Theory.
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