LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 20, 2007) − Did you know that in Fayette County, African American children are over represented in foster care at a rate 3.4 times their prevalence in the population? What should be done to address this issue?
A forum on how race impacts the child welfare system will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20, at the Worsham Theater in the UK Student Center. The "Race, Community and Child Welfare Summit: Addressing the Crisis in Fayette County," is co-sponsored by the University of Kentucky, Department of Community Engagement, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), the Lexington Local Investment Commission (LexLinc), Partners for Youth and the Lexington Police Department.
The forum is free and open to the public. Leaders in the judicial, law enforcement, health, media and social work fields are particularly encouraged to attend.
The event will be moderated by Lisa Higgins-Hord, UK's assistant vice president for Community Engagement, and speakers include: Mark A. Washington, commissioner of the CHFS' Department for Community based Services (DCBS); Jackie Stamps, DCBS' deputy commissioner; other CHFS leaders; Larry Johnson and Terry Stivers of the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government's Partners for Youth, Michelle Beverly from the Fayette County Public Schools and representatives from LexLinc.
"We are concerned about the disproportionate number of African-American children in the child welfare system," Washington said. "Although this is a complex issue which involves the entire community, we are already taking many positive steps to work with community partners and educate staff to reflect upon biases and assumptions about the care of our children. Forums like this are part of that initial effort."
Fayette is one of 11 counties targeted in a comprehensive initiative on racial disproportionately in the child welfare system which includes the community, its people and systems that report abuse and neglect to child protective services and those that respond and provide services. UK will begin to support this initiative by partnering with citizens and leaders of communities within the Commonwealth working together to bring about positive change.
For more information about race in the child welfare system, go to www.jointheconversation.net/.
This from UK Press Release.