ODJFS will revamp its recruiting practices and racial equity training after a report released this month found racial inequity in the state’s children services system.
This will include using virtual reality headsets for vetting candidates and for training children services caseworkers in scenarios including race equity. A spokesman could not say when all Ohio caseworkers will receive this training.
Researchers interviewed 17 people — six foster parents, four program administrators and seven emancipated youth who had recently been in the system:
1.Black interviewees said they were consistently ignored when expressing concerns about their care or their needs for assistance.
2.Kinship care families, which tend to be black, are not given the same support given to other foster families, that tend to be white, to address the financial strain of childcare.
3.Young people feel they do not have a say in decisions about their care and this is especially true for youth of color.
4.Foster parents did not feel well-trained to raise children in their care. This was especially true for parents in transracial foster arrangements.
5.Black and mixed-race youth were sometimes exposed to racist foster experiences, including homes where they were called racial slurs, due to a lack of anti-racist requirements for potential caregivers.
6.Few kids who spend a lifetime in the children services system are prepared for adulthood. This especially affects black children since they are likely to be in the system longer and are more likely to age out of the system.