Native American Child Foster Care Disparity: Applying the Lens of Critical Race Theory

Alice Kay Locklear




The critical race theory (CRT) concentrates on issues regarding the current disproportionate placement of Native American children into foster care.  Specifically, 2% of all children in foster care are Native American, even though Native American children only make up 1% of the total number of children in the United States.  Additionally, the placement often results in a loss of ethnic culture, heritage, spirituality, values, traditions, and language of Native Americans.  The result of foster care placement extends into a loss of self-identity, and possible extinction of this minority population.  Social work educators work to empower oppressed populations by reforming culturally inappropriate decision-making practices.  Social work students receive instruction to become self-aware of biases, values, beliefs, and attitudes of the social paradigm.  This increased understanding of cultural diversity could create a more philosophical worldview.  Delving into the critical race tenets and cultural competence explores the role of the social work profession calling for knowledge application and skill needed when working with Native American populations.

Keywords: Native American children, culture, foster care,

              decision-making, cultural competence

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