Why does it happen?

  • “For too long I have seem the system fail these children, and the children suffer and be victims of a system that is there to protect them.”
  • “Having child welfare involved in your life and making decisions about your children is a humbling and overwhelming experience for families. It is then compounded by race dynamics in which families feel misunderstood and often unheard.”
  • “Many people don’t know how to seek assistance outside of emergency needs, WIC, and Foodstamps.”
  • “A history of economic insecurity based on historical social factors that impede economic growth for the black community… leads to more children in the system of care.”
  • “There are lower number of Black CPI’s and CPI Supervisors and “decision makers” who can see and respect the culture of the Black family.”
  • “The cycle of poverty plays a big role.”
  • “Our non-rehabilitative justice system contributes to removal.”
  • “Investigators are inexperienced and untrained in understanding cultural differences.”
  • “The police are a good resource but they are often not the correct resource and are forced to deal with these family problems. The police are not qualified”
  •  “I think that more and more Black children are entering the foster care because of the lack in leadership we are facing today.”
    “Young parents that are ill-equipped to handle parenting skills due to their own life’s challenges.”
  • “Parents were not mature enough to accept the responsibility of parenting.”
  • “Parenting and sex education classes.”
  • “I think the system target low income families who can’t afford an attorney. They make it hard for us to get our kids back.”
  • “Perhaps the decision makers are less comfortable or tolerant of black culture- so they remove more quickly.”

How should it be addressed?

  • “Partnership throughout child welfare system, larger system and community leaders is a must.”
  • “More community focused prevention program that provide opportunities for early childhood education, career development opportunities for youth and young adults, and community development activities that are led by and for community residents.”
  • “Involving the community and allowing them to shape these systems and programs with guidance could be a key solution. Taking the power and putting it into their hands and allowing them to create the change they believe their communities need could provide a spark.”
  • “If there is a more active and involved support system, we can help people feel less intimidated and ashamed for asking for help.”
  • “The lack of access to proper healthcare could be an issue to consider.”
  • “The child welfare system needs to place themselves more as partner than punisher.”
  • “Instead of treating being Black as a risk factor, the system needs to look at itself as the risk factor to Black people’s lives.”
  • “More community outreach to provide resources and support to families is needed.”
  • “Community leaders need to be going into poor, high crime neighborhoods to assess what the needs are and where support can be provided.”
  • “Empowering those that these issues affect, to be vocal about change and opening opportunities for them to have a seat at the table for meetings and planning committees.”
  • “Removing children from their homes, (unless is in extreme abuse cases), is not the answer. Not only takes away the responsibility from the parent, but also takes away the authority from the parent.”
  • “Working with law enforcement and CPI to educate them on the needs of the community, factors that influence removal and the available resources to reduce children coming into care. CPI and LE should also be educated as to their racial bias and how that can affect rate of removal.”
  • “Family Mentoring.”
  • “Provide services to alleviate addiction, safety from gangs and violence.”
  • “There is power in knowledge and guidance. We might want to use the village concept. It is all of our responsibility to see our next generation succeed.”
  • “Providing programs for parents who are expecting children which gives them hope for equal opportunity.”
  • “There should be more help for family member that would be willing to care for children but have no resources.”
  • “More opportunities are necessary for better education, affordable housing, good paying job creation.”
  • “Partnership between systems and community leaders looks like shared power, shared responsibility, shared sense of urgency, unwavering partnership.”

What should be done right now?

  • “Practices regarding the initial removal of children need to be reviewed.”
  • “Our system can be quite punitive to non-offending parents and a thorough conversation with this parent may yield alternative feasible options.”
  • “It’s the community that can make a change in racial justice if leaders would be open to hear.”
  • “We need to come together. Not only for the sake of the country, but as a people.”
  • “Understanding what the Family needs right now.”
  • “Immediate safeguards in the home like rent assistance, ways to combat food and security, parenting classes to ensure families know how to deal with stress when they arise.”
  • “Develop a wide range of leaders that would emerge to work for their communities with the help of those with power and access.”
  • “Talk to guide and not divide.”
  • “Education is key and the earlier the better. We can’t wait until they are adults it must start as soon as possible teaching the youth.”
  • “Must have leadership buy-in and investment from all areas, but first they have to see it as an “issue”. Data does that, hearing from those impacted, comparing our methods to best practices, etc.”
  • “People have to understand that whatever works for a white family will not work for a black family.”
  • “Aiding single parents or guardians with resources they need to make sure their children will live in a stable home free of trauma.”
  • “Community leaders should first identify the communities in need.”
  • “First and foremost we need to look forward, not backward. We know that historically there have been ignorance and injustice. We need to concentrate on correcting injustices, not perpetrating new ones. We need to involve everyone.”
  • “People need to talk to each other as people first.”