Monday, April 02, 2007

African American parents more likely to have children removed from their custody

State to study blacks in foster care
Dispropotionate number taken from homes
Honeycutt-Spears, Valarie. Lexington Herald-Leader, March 31, 2007.

A project is under way to find out why there is a disproportionate number of black children being removed from their families and put into state foster care in Kentucky.

African Americans make up only 13.5 percent of Fayette County's population.

But of all the children in out-of-home state care in Fayette County, 45.7 percent are black.

Fayette County is one of 11 counties statewide that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services will study, Cabinet spokesperson Vikki Franklin said yesterday.

Statewide, blacks make up 7.3 percent of Kentucky's population. About 19 percent of the 7,000 children in state custody are black.

State child protection officials will facilitate meetings in which state social workers and community partners, including police, will gather to discuss the factors that put black children in state care.

The cabinet will not release details of the project until Monday, Franklin said, but she confirmed yesterday that workshops will begin in Jefferson County and then expand to other parts of the state.

The National Association of Black Social Workers is expressing concern about the numbers of black children in state care nationwide -- at last count over 40 percent of all children in state custody were lack.

The Washington, D.C-based group's Web site says that African American parents are no more likely to abuse or neglect their children but they are more likely to be investigated, have children removed from their home, and receive fewer services from the state.


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