Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Left Behind: African American Children and Foster Care

Are African American children getting left behind when it comes to foster care and adoption?

Is the African American church staying behind when it comes to foster care and adoption?

You decide...

I recently joined an initiative of the Christian Alliance for Orphans aimed at encouraging African American Christians to join the orphan care movement.

We've just begun to connect hearts and minds for this purpose, but I believe God is already moving among us.

One blessing I've recently received from this group is a list of statistics entitled "Foster Care and the African American Community," compiled by Darrell "D.J." Jordan, Jr. This document contains some dismal stats, a few of which I'll pass on.

  • Although African American children represent 14% of the general U.S. children population, they make up 27% of the foster care population.
  • Many states have an alarmingly disproportionate ratio of African American children in the foster care system versus the percentage of African American children in the state's population. For example: in Maryland, 65% of foster children are African American while only 32% of all children are African American. In Illinois, 55% of foster children are African American while only 16% of all children are African American. Many other states* have disproportionate numbers as well.
  • African American children have lower rates of adoption from the foster care system than those of other races and ethnicities.
  • A higher rate of poverty is among several factors contributing to the higher proportion of African American children entering and remaining in foster care.
  • Children of color enter foster care at a higher rate, stay longer and leave at a slower rate than white children.
  • Children of color are also far less likely to be reunified with their families.

The bottom line? The foster care system has far too many African American children that remain in the system far too long. Too few African American children get adopted out of the system and too few are reunited with their families.

Too many African American children are STUCK in the US foster care system.

So what are WE going to do about it? 

I'm going to pray and fight for these children. 

We can't afford to leave these children behind any longer.


* Delaware, Mississippi, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Michigan, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio and the District of Columbia all have disproportionate ratios of African American children in foster care.


  1. This is such an unfortunate truth, Carla. My parent's did foster care for years and later adopted my younger brother (after fostering since birth- 6 months). I've seen so many of our young black babies come in our home and leave, only to go other homes and then end up on the street. It was so tough to see this and witness the heartache so many children face (from the drugs they take for behavior and the horrible reasons they are there in the first place.) It's just heartbreaking. I'm praying too, Carla. It's on me and my husband's heart to adopt in the future, God willing, when my kids are a little older. I pray the Lord moves upon hearts to help our precious kids. Thanks for this post!

    1. You're welcome Kennisha! Thanks so much for sharing here! Praise God for your parents for loving on foster children and even adopting. And praise Him for your desire to adopt one day too. I believe change is coming. God's Church - which is full of precious people of different races and cultures - is awakening to this need.