WSW: Study Finds Racial Disparities in Michigan's Foster System

May 28, 2014

Class of Seita Scholars at Western Michigan University
Credit Western Michigan University

The report by the Michigan Race Equity Coalition finds minority children are more likely to live in families investigated for abuse and neglect. 

Minority children, especially African-Americans are also more likely to be removed from their homes, and age out of the system. Paul Elam of Public Policy Associates was the project manager for the study. He says the study concludes that there are different outcomes. Elam says the next step is to examine what causes those differences.

Elam says children who age out of the foster care system often have trouble later in life. Elam says programs to help kids in foster care are usually underfunded. He says the cost to society is people who are not employed or part of the criminal justice system. 

When asked about Western Michigan University's Seita Scholars program for students who age out of the foster care system, Elam says it provides an opportunity to "get back on a positive trajectory." He says systems like the Seita Scholars can provide support and expose students to higher education opportunities. 

Elam says the work will continue on the issue. He says the next step is try to make recommendation reports become reality. Elam says that may include pilot projects to see if those program can work before they are taken statewide.