course »Creating an Authentic Sense of Safety for Children of Color in Foster Care and the Juvenile Justice System

Date: 8/8/2019, 9:15 am—4:45 pm
County: Alameda County
CEUs: 6
Location: Berkeley
Sponsor: A Better Way, Inc.
Phone: 510-601-0203
For individuals working in the field of child welfare terms like “equity” and “inclusion” are being utilized to identify the needs of children everywhere. However, there are a growing number of children of color who are experiencing the adverse: displacement, discrimination, and a lack of safety. Black boys are among the highest ranking demographic of children plagued with depression. From 2001 to 2015, the suicide risk for Black boys between the ages of 5 and 11 was two to three times higher than that of White boys (Hunt, Aaron, and Robles.; 2017: 2) These numbers insist that beyond social inequities there is an apparent state of emergency. Children of color are not safe.

In schools all over America Black children in particular are being suspended at unprecedented rates, unlike their White counterparts who are removed at less than half the rate. According to EdSource, “In the 2016-17 school year, the suspension rate of African-American students in California public schools was 9.8 percent . . . By contrast, the suspension rate for Latino students was 3.7 percent, 3.2 percent for white students, and 1.1 percent for Asian students.” (Jones, Carolyn; 2017: 4)

Where do these social inequalities come from?

In order to understand these social inequalities we take a look at the people leading this society as a whole. The source of social input that is provided for youth of color and society as a whole; the deciding party. In mid-2018, White people constituted 100 percent of the ten richest Americans, 90 percent of the US Congress, 96 percent of US state governors, 100 percent of the top US military advisers, 84 percent of full-time university professors and 90 to 95 percent of the people who decide which television shows, music albums and books get produced and published. (DiAngelo, 2018: 6)

How do we as child welfare providers create a felt sense of safety for children of color in our care?

In order to help children maintain a baseline of wellbeing it is imperative that we understand how we can assist them in bringing on the connection system to mitigate safety breaches, if possible. Positive social engagement is a prerequisite in forming healthy relationships and an initial indicator of safety.