Latino Children Living in Foster Care on the Rise


Adreanna Guiterrez, 18, and her daughter Alicia Elena Garcia in their foster home in Texas. (AP Photo)

The number of Latino children living in foster care has more than doubled in the past 15 years, ABC News reported. According to the Chronicle of Social Change, incarceration, alcoholism and divorce are also trending upward in Latinos, which contributes to the number of their children in foster care.

Alan Dettlaff, researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said the increase of Latinos in the foster care system is likely the product of a growing population of third generation Latino children. Third generation children are at a greater risk of child welfare involvement, he said.
One theory as to why this is involves a negotiation occurring between the culture in America and the families’ prior culture.
Traditional ideas about gender roles might be upended, particularly if a woman ends up working, and conflict between parents and the children they feel are assimilating too quickly can lead to divisions,” the report said.
The traditional values that were preserved in the first generations have begun to erode in the second generations, which ultimately affect their children.
Latino children in foster care face significant problems that many foster children do not, including being placed in English-speaking homes after growing in up Spanish-speaking households.
Elizabeth Jenkins-Sahlin, a spokeswoman for the Latin American Youth Center, said language barriers are often problematic and are a detriment to children in the system.
More bilingual workers are needed in the child welfare system and wokers need to be more senstattive to Latino kids, she said.