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March 2024Vol. 25, No. 2Americans' Views of U.S. Foster Care: Elevating Black Americans' Perspectives and Experiences

The EMBRACE Project (Expanding Meaningful Black Relationships and Creating Equity) is a multiyear, research-driven initiative that aims to not only understand but enhance the long-term health and success of Black youth in foster care. Gallup and Kidsave, an organization dedicated to establishing mentoring connections and adoptive families for older children, collaborated as part of the EMBRACE Project to conduct a study on how the American public, with a specific focus on Black Americans, perceives the foster care system and adoption from foster care. This study, Americans' Views of U.S. Foster Care: Elevating Black Americans' Perspectives and Experiences, aims to identify and understand the barriers to mentoring, fostering, and adopting, particularly for Black potential caregivers.

By prioritizing the perspectives and experiences of Black Americans, the study tries to pinpoint the significant obstacles that deter involvement with the foster care system. The goal is to leverage these insights to dismantle systemic barriers and encourage greater engagement with fostering and adoption, specifically within the Black community. The study explored three areas: knowledge and perceptions of U.S. foster care, significant barriers to providing care, and encouraging fostering and adoption.

Trends among Black Americans who participated in the study included four key takeaways:

  • Black Americans report knowing more about foster care and adoption from foster care than Americans of other racial and ethnic backgrounds and are more likely to have participated in a program with children in foster care.
  • Black Americans report lower levels of confidence in specific areas of the U.S. foster care system. For example, they are more likely to agree that the foster care system could do more to keep biological families together and less likely to agree that the foster care system supports children in need of care regardless of the child's racial or ethnic background.
  • The amount of money required to provide foster care is a significant barrier.
  • Twenty-five percent of Black Americans say racial and ethnic discrimination is a major barrier to becoming a foster parent.

The study's results are intended to address a critical need: increasing the number of foster and adoptive parents available for children in need of care. Findings in this report highlight pathways to connect youth in foster care to families that can meet their needs and provide culturally responsive care. The findings also can inform targeted interventions, fostering positive changes within the system. The report authors suggest that education about available resources and requirements as well as increased mentoring opportunities are possible ways to address the barriers respondents cited.

View the report and press release for more information.