Meeting the Needs of African-American Children Involved in the Child Welfare System
About the project
- How can we prepare and support transracial foster families in addressing needs of Black children in care?
- What can we learn from Black foster and birth parents’ experiences to improve positive racial identity and community integration for Black children and youth in foster care?
- How can we adapt the “best practices” found in popular, academic, and professional literature and media to provide appropriate training and support?
This project engages complementary strengths of UIUC and UIS researchers, Illinois family advocates and race equity leaders, child welfare leaders and practitioners, and training specialists to translate research into practice. The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is funding this study, which is being conducted in partnership with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), in order to design improved supports for Black children in care.
The goal of the project is to understand parenting strategies and training needs for positive youth identity development and supports for navigating experiences of racism among foster and adoptive parents and their children, drawing from the lived experiences of Black birth parents, and White and Black foster parents, raising Black children in care. The results of the qualitative research study will be used to design appropriate training and supports for existing and future foster families in order to improve the experiences and outcomes of Black children and youth in State care. The context for developing the system of support relates to the over-representation of Black children and youth in the Illinois child welfare system, the unmet need of having sufficient numbers of Black caregivers to help raise Black children experiencing abuse and neglect, racial bias in recruitment and retention policies and structures, the unmet needs for support and training of White foster parents who are caregiving for Black children, and the everyday contexts of racism experienced by children and adults in transracial foster families.
This project will synthesize information gathered through interviews with:
- Birthparents of at least one Black child (or multi-race including Black race) aged 5-17, in care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) that have had visits with the child(ren) within the past three months, or who are recently reunified with their child(ren).
- Black foster parents who are caring for (or have recently cared for) at least one school-age Black child (or multi-race including Black race), aged 5-17, involved with Illinois DCFS.
- White, non-Latinx foster parents who are caring for (or have recently cared for) at least one Black child (or multi-race including Black race), aged 5-17, involved with Illinois DCFS.