Child and Family Well-Being
Impacts of COVID-19 on Children and Family Well-Being in Los Angeles County
Involvement in foster care is at least correlated with Black youth being at risk for a multitude of challenges and adverse experiences such as commercial sexual exploitation and juvenile justice system involvement. Almost one in three alleged child maltreatment cases involve “general neglect” or a family’s inability to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or child supervision. Rather than address the underlying poverty, and circumstances in which parents are unable to care for their children, we remove the children. Of course, in some instances removal is the correct decision, even if only to provide sufficient time for family recovery and improved circumstances and to prevent further immediate harm, but such a decision should not obviate our responsibility for addressing the root causes of neglect.
In order to get equity right and to heal the inequities created we must invest in the permanency of community-based care models for the highest-need families and at-risk youth.
In Los Angeles County, Black youth make up slightly over 7 percent of the total population and yet 25 percent of foster youth are Black (California Department of Finance 2018; Child Welfare Services 2020).
- 25% 25%
In Los Angeles County, 85 percent of youth “recovered” by probation from commercial sexual exploitation were foster youth. Of this group, 71 percent are Black (Fithyan, Guymon, and Wegener 2019).
- 71% 71%
In California, nearly one in three Black children (28 percent ) and one in three Latino children (31 percent ) live in poverty (California Policy and Research Initiative 2019).
- 28% 28%
5 Child and Family Well-Being Policy Recommendations
The report puts forward 5 recommendations for policy and practical action.