The desire to become a parent or caregiver can make a difference in the lives of children in foster care. For Black Americans, however, racial discrimination and distrust in the foster care system are among the key factors preventing adults from fostering a child, according to a new study.

Research from Kidsave International and Gallup shows one in three Black Americans (34%) say they have thought “a lot” about providing foster care for a child — a higher rate than the 23% of U.S. adults in other racial/ethnic groups.

Moreover, according to reports, one in four Black adults (25%) has seriously considered adopting a child from foster care, and 24% are willing to participate in a program to work with children in foster care.

Additional findings from Kidsave states that Black children only make up 14% of the U.S. child population, but 22% of all children remain in foster care. Black youth are disproportionately over-represented in foster care and under-represented in adoption rates. These children are likelier to be re-homed multiple times and less likely to be reunited with their birth families than their white counterparts.

While there are many types of adoption, research shows that pairing Black youth with Black foster parents is one way to encourage culturally responsive foster care environments. However, the number of Black children in the foster care system exceeds that of caregivers and foster parents of the same racial background.

In a study conducted March 22-April 11, 2023, KidSave and Gallup concluded that Black Americans had expressed a greater interest in fostering a child than other racial/ethnic backgrounds.

The report also cited that Black Americans distrust the foster care system compared to other U.S. adults. Additionally, age, stage of life and finances are concerns Black Americans have when considering fostering a child.

While Black foster parents can positively impact a child’s life, the study suggests that more organizations should address these concerns to increase the number of caregivers available for Black youth.