According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published in June 2016, 24 percent of foster children in the U.S. are African-American however in Maryland, 30% of children and youth in foster care identify as African-American. For far too long, African-American children and youth have been overrepresented in the foster care system, where they remain longer, on average than most children, fall further behind in school than most children, and are 4 times less likely than other children to be reunified with their biological families.
Here at Maryland CASA Association, Black History Month is a time of reflection on the many great impacts the African-American community has contributed to the United States and the importance of representing the overrepresented children in the foster system. As a statewide network, we are an organization dedicated to safe, permanent, and loving homes for all of Maryland’s abused and neglected children, regardless of their ethnic, socioeconomic, or religious backgrounds. Providing voices for the voiceless, we pay special attention to the hardships that African-American children and youth continually face not only during Black History Month but also during the additional 11 months throughout the year.
With the help of a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA volunteer, these children and youth are more likely to be adopted, half as likely to re-enter foster care, substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care, more likely to have a plan for permanency, and are more likely to have a consistent, responsible adult to speak up for their best interests and help ensure their needs are not only met, but understood.
This Black History Month, consider joining us in acknowledging the great work and triumphs of those who came before us, but also in working toward a brighter future for all of Maryland’s foster children, regardless of the color of their skin. Join us in this effort by becoming a CASA Volunteer and provide a foster child the support they need and the advocacy they deserve.
For more information, visit www.marylandcasa.org/get-involved or call 410-828-6761.