One in three Black Americans (34%) say they have thought “a lot” about providing foster care for a child -- a greater rate than the 23% recorded for U.S. adults in other racial/ethnic groups.
Additionally, one in four Black adults say they have seriously considered adopting a child from foster care (25%) or participating in a program to work with children in foster care (24%). Each figure is about 10 percentage points greater than percentages for all other racial/ethnic groups combined.
Federal statistics indicate that Black children are disproportionately represented in foster care and are more likely to experience multiple foster home placements. One way to support children while they’re in foster care is to encourage culturally responsive foster care environments, which can be maximized when Black children are paired with Black foster parents. Yet, the greater number of Black children in the foster care system makes it difficult to match every child with a foster parent of the same racial background, leading to a need for more Black care providers.
These findings come from Gallup and Kidsave, as part of the EMBRACE Project. EMBRACE, which stands for Expanding Meaningful Black Relationships and Creating Equity, is a project by Kidsave to improve the outcomes for Black foster youth. The study was conducted March 22-April 11, 2023, and reveals that Black Americans express greater interest in providing foster care than adults of other racial backgrounds.
Black Americans Have Less Confidence in Foster Care, Adoption Organizations
Though their personal interest in providing foster care is relatively high, Black Americans are less likely than other groups to express confidence in the foster care system and in foster parents broadly.
Among their concerns, Black adults are more likely than adults of other racial backgrounds to strongly agree or agree that the foster care system could do more to help biological families stay together. They are also more likely than other U.S. adults to agree that the system is more harmful than helpful to the children in its care.
Training, Resources Top List of Barriers for Black Americans
When asked to select the single most important barrier for them to provide foster care, Black Americans are most likely to cite their age or stage in life (24%), followed by their current work or family situation (15%). This is similar to how these factors rank in importance among Americans of all other racial backgrounds.
When asked more broadly to identify any major barriers (with no limit on how many could be selected), three out of the top five most commonly cited relate to training and/or resources, including the amount of money required to provide foster care. Training and resources are major barriers to being foster parents for all Americans regardless of racial background, although the amount of money required to provide foster care is unique to Black Americans’ top five list.
Additionally, one in four Black Americans (25%) say the amount of racial and ethnic discrimination they may face is a major barrier to providing foster care, compared with 14% of Americans of all other racial backgrounds.
Black adults who want to be caregivers can make a big difference in the lives of children in foster care, and they are in high demand by foster care and adoption organizations to help meet the needs of children.
Black Americans already have an elevated level of interest in providing foster care: One in three have thought a lot about doing so. However, in addition to training and resources, Black adults also report unique barriers to entry, such as skepticism about the benefits of foster care to children, concerns about receiving equitable treatment as foster parents and having lower confidence in the foster care system as a whole.
Efforts to recruit Black caregivers should be aimed at addressing these barriers and ultimately finding solutions that can improve Black Americans’ trust in organizations that support foster care and adoption.
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