African-American children in Arizona foster care on the rise

YUMA, Ariz. – The number of African-American children removed from their homes in Arizona has increased nearly 10 percent in the last two years.

A spokesman for the department of child safety says it could be a combination of the effects of poverty and impoverished communities not having access to services.

Department of Child Safety Spokesman Doug Nick says, “A removal is only done if a child is in eminent danger and needing to be taken out of the the home. Anytime a child is removed, it is a matter of concern to us. It reflects a situation in society that needs to be addressed, such as parents or care givers who are not doing the job to provide a safe home for a child and that can happen in any population regardless of their demographic characteristics.”

Nick says the wait time has decreased by 77 percent since July 2015. He says it’s important to resolve the problem before separating the families. Their goal is to keep the families together.

MIKID CEO Dick Geasland said, “Arizona has a high rate at least equal to or higher than the national average. They have a higher rate of children living in poverty and children living in poverty tend to be more apt to not have the resources to keep them out of the juvenile justice system, as well as their family not having the resources that would bring them to the attention of child protective services.”

At the end of September 2015, there were 18,619 children in out-of-home care statewide, a Department of Child Safety Oversight Committee report shows, and 2,791, or 15 percent, were African-American children.

Nick says, “Our job is to protect child safety no matter their demographic.”

A spokesperson for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People says sometimes African-American parents lack the resources they need to succeed and care for their children, such as proper healthcare and daycare.

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