Just 1% of foundation funding for children aging out of foster care goes to children of color. With World Refugee Day last month, and May being National Foster Care Month, now is the perfect time to bring more awareness to the increasing number of migrant children entering the foster care system within the U.S.
By: Sabrina Laverty
Of the 10,000s of referrals the Office of Refugee Resettlement receives every year for migrant children to be placed in foster care, almost 5,000 enter the system, in addition to the almost 500,000 U.S.-born children in foster care.
While the reasons these children are entering the system vary, 1 thing is certain: The risks associated with aging out of the system are even higher for migrant children, especially those of color.
According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, on average, more than 68% of migrant childrenwithout parents or guardians who came to the U.S. from 2014 and 2018 were between the ages of 15 to 17 years old.
In most states, once a child turns 18, they are no longer considered a ward of the state, and depending on a child’s immigration or asylum status, a child may be more likely to experience a lack of educational opportunities, homelessness and unemployment.
In addition, racial and ethnic discrimination in America continues to run rampant. There are political, economic and social barriers that exist for people of color in this country, and the development opportunities for migrant children of color are left unprotected. Children below the age of 18 have the least power and wealth.
Discrimination may occur at the institutional level because children of color are less likely to receive mental health services, have fewer visits with their parents or siblings whom they have been separated from and are less likely to receive services designed to reunite them with relatives.