Children of color are disproportionately represented in the United States foster care system. In most states, there are higher proportions of African American/Black and Native American children in foster care than in the general population. In some states Hispanic/Latino children are disproportionately represented as well. Children of color face similar disproportionate contact with the Juvenile Justice system. The overrepresentation of children of color is an issue of interest to juvenile justice stakeholders, practitioners, and scholars.
The Child Welfare System
Whereas children of all races are equally as likely to suffer from child abuse and neglect, nationwide the percentage of African-American and other minority children who enter and remain in out-of-home care is greater than their proportion in the population.
Juvenile Delinquency Court
During adolescence, youth of all races become involved in delinquent behavior, but youth of color are overrepresented in the juvenile justice system. Youth of color in North Carolina are about as likely as white youth to have a juvenile complaint approved for court, but are more than 1.5 times as likely to be held in detention centers prior to adjudication and more than four times as likely to be committed to a secure institution. Moreover, the data shows that disproportionity is at its highest at the most serious stages of the juvenile court process – commitment to YDCs and transfers to adult court. [Sources: Action For Children and/or The Annie E. Casey Foundation]
The Juvenile Judges of the 26th Judicial District of North Carolina and their collaborative community partners formed Race Matters for Juvenile Justice to reduce the disproportionate representation of and disparate outcomes for children and families of color in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The purpose of this site is to promote the work of Race Matters for Juvenile Justice, to provide access to related information and resources and to inform the community of opprtunities to get involved.