New WRAL Documentary Explores World of Foster Care

WRAL-TV logo “Another Mother’s Child”
New WRAL Documentary Explores World of Foster Care
Airs Wednesday, April 11 at 7pm
“It takes a long time to actually trust somebody because you never know if you’re going be there for two years or five months.”
18-year-old Mechelle Thaxton, a foster child profiled in “Another Mother’s Child”

When social workers decide that a child is not safe in its own home due to abuse or neglect it takes custody of the child and places it in a foster home. Black children make up a disproportionate share of the foster care population in North Carolina. WRAL’s latest Focal Point documentary looks at the impact of the foster care population on the state. Focal Point: “Another Mother’s Child” airs Wednesday, April 11th at 7pm.  The program is hosted by WRAL-TV News Anchor David Crabtree.

Foster careIn some counties the numbers are especially stark.  For example, in Durham County, nearly 80 percent of children in foster care are black, while only about 45 percent of children in the general population are black.  In Wake the ratio is about 67 percent to 24 percent.  In Mecklenburg it’s about 69 percent to 35 percent.  Social workers call it “disproportionality”.  They say poverty is a major factor. The stresses associated with poverty can lead to abuse and neglect of children. 

Social workers say that since black children are more likely to live in poverty and more likely to live in single parent homes, they are more likely to be removed from their homes and taken into protective custody than white children.  Once in foster care, black children tend to remain there longer than white children.  They are often moved from home to home as social workers search for permanent placement with adoptive families.  As a result the children often feel rejected, depressed and angry. 

Focal Point Preview:
See a video preview of “Another Mother’s Child”

While many children successfully cope with the challenges of foster care, studies have shown that many of them who don’t find permanent homes and age out of the system are more likely than other children to be high school drop-outs, unemployed, on welfare, on drugs or in prison.   More than one in five is homeless at least once in the year after leaving the foster care system.

This documentary profiles Mechelle Thaxton, a black foster child who will soon be leaving the system.  Mechelle’s experience offers a glimpse inside the world of foster care and how so many black children end up there. Interviews with practitioners in child welfare services and experts on the foster care system will shed light on some of the reasons for the racial disparity and the impact it has on both foster children and our society.  The program will look at efforts to place black foster children in permanent homes, from reunification with birth parents to placement with adoptive families. It will explore alternatives to foster care and intervention efforts designed to support families and help keep black children out of the foster care system.

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Clay Johnson for the information for this capcom summary & to for this capcom photo & graphic.

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