Movement for Family Power, the Drug Policy Alliance and NYU Family Defense Clinic have released a new report focused on the child welfare and foster system and its intersection with the war on drugs.
This report — titled “Whatever they do, I’m her comfort, I’m her protector: How the foster system has become ground zero for the US drug war” — comes at an important moment.
The volume surrounding the systems the U.S. has in place (and how those systems work against Black, Brown, and marginalized people) is getting louder.
Through the War on Drugs, the foster system targeted communities that needed support instead of policing and criminalization.
Furthermore, these systems continue to target, and disproportionately criminalize, Black, Brown, and marginalized people to this day, as evidenced in the report, which includes the following facts:
- The United States holds the distressing distinction of having the greatest number of legal orphans in the world— children forcibly made legally parentless by a mechanism known as termination of parental rights.
- Between 2000 and 2011, one in seventeen white children, one in nine Black children, and one in seven “American Indian” (Native) children had been removed from their parents’ care.
- In 2017 alone, over 500,000 parents, almost all low income and disproportionately Black, “American Indian,” Latinx and female-presenting, were determined by the foster system to have maltreated their children.
“This is an injustice that should not be tolerated. There is no better time for action than now,” a spokesperson for Movement for Family Power said. “Through our recommendations, we are calling for immediate relief for families affected by the system, an overall shrinking of the system’s scope and size, and the transfer of power and resources back into the most targeted communities.”
“This critical report shines a bright light on the confluence of the racist drug war and structural inequities in the foster system and points to policy alternatives that would instead truly center children and families’ wellbeing,” added Kassandra Frederique, managing director of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at the Drug Policy Alliance, in a press release.