Foster Care

Foster Care Information & Data

Young people who are involved in the foster care system are at risk of experiencing negative outcomes throughout their adolescence and adulthood. These outcomes include separation from both job and education, adolescent pregnancy, health problems, participation with the criminal justice system, and an increased likelihood of becoming homeless. (Courtney & Dworsky, 2006).

These difficulties are made much more difficult by the fact that, in addition to being exposed to traumatic events, foster children are also subjected to mental, emotional, and physical pressures that are unique to their situation. From a lack of language skills in kindergarten to dropping out of high school as a teenager, these factors all contribute to negative outcomes (Wulczyn et al., 2009). These results can range from underdeveloped language abilities to dropping out of high school.

According to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (2021), the percentage of Young People of African and Indigenous descent in the United States was 15 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, in the year 2019. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway (2021), the percentages of Black and Indigenous children and adolescents who are placed in foster care are disproportionately higher. At the national level, indigenous children and adolescents make up 23 percent and 2 percent of the foster care population, respectively.

There are intersections between the disparities in class and the disparities in race and ethnicity. According to Wulczyn et al. (2009), children who belong to families who are living in poverty are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system. This is true independent of the children's race or ethnicity. Children who come from households with a low socioeconomic position have a higher likelihood of achieving upward mobility in ten years (41 percent), whereas children of African descent and Latinx descent have a lesser chance of doing so (29 and 33 percent, respectively) (Carnevale et al., 2019a). White children have a higher chance of achieving upward mobility than children of other races.

There are many of these national patterns that are followed by New York City. According to the Child Abuse and Neglect Index (CIDI), the likelihood of an indicated finding of abuse or neglect occurring in a black child is 2.7 times higher than in their peers. While black children made up only 22 percent of the city's youth population in 2019, they made up 53 percent of the foster care population (New York City Adolescent Care Services, 2020; Child Care Center, 2019). The percentage of LGBTQAI youth who identify as being in foster care is significantly higher than the percentage of LGBTQAI youth in the overall juvenile population (NYC ACS, 2020). As a result of these identities, young people are subjected to high rates of discrimination and implicit bias, including racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of discrimination. This adversely affects their social and economic development.

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