EMBRACE a better future for Black children in foster care

When Black children grow up surrounded by supportive and caring adults – especially adults from the Black community – they have the power to unlock their potential and achieve their dreams. But the current 86,000 Black children in foster care face enormous challenges in finding their forever family.

Kidsave launched EMBRACE (Expanding Meaningful Black Relationships And Creating Equity) to help understand and improve the experience for Black youth and Black families involved with the child welfare system.

Black children are dramatically overrepresented in foster care. They end up spending more time in care and experience higher rates of aging out than their white counterparts.

Through the EMBRACE Project, we’ve begun to unearth and better understand some of the unique obstacles for Black Americans to engage with foster care and adoption.


The alarming overrepresentation of Black youth in foster care systems across the United States demands immediate attention. Statistics reveal that Black children are placed in foster care at a rate nearly double that of white children, raising critical concerns about systemic biases in child welfare.

This pressing issue underscores the urgent need for comprehensive reform. Our goals are to address the barriers Black families face and help Black foster youth thrive. This involves tackling racial bias and socioeconomic disparities, and implementing culturally sensitive interventions.

Through legislative changes, increased support for families, and a commitment to equity and inclusion, we aim to dismantle the barriers that perpetuate this injustice and create a more equitable system for all children. It’s time to rewrite the narrative and ensure that every child, regardless of their background, can thrive in a loving and nurturing environment.

In collaboration with the Gallup Center on Black Voices, the EMBRACE Project is a five-part national study to begin uncovering the gaps within the foster care system and begin a conversation about how to make the foster system work better for and with Black communities.

EMBRACE Findings

Phase III concluded November 15, 2023. Phase IV is currently underway.

The Facts Are Undeniable

  • 1
    Despite making up only 14% of the U.S. child population, Black children make up 22% of all kids in foster care. (AFCARS, 2021) Black youth are disproportionately represented in foster care adoption.
  • 2
    Right now, there are 86,645 Black children in foster care in America.
  • 3
    As of 2021, around 19,000 children each year age out of the system alone without ever finding a forever family, left to fend for themselves without any support network to help guide them. Of those 19,000, Black youth disproportionately make up 21% of those youth who age out which is around 3,990.
  • 4

    Bouncing from foster home to foster home can be a profoundly traumatizing experience. On average, Black children spend longer in the system and are more likely to age out of the foster care system without finding a forever home than non-Black children.

  • 5
    Research shows that placing a Black child with a family of the same race strengthens their sense of identity and ultimately, their well-being.

The EMBRACE Project, spearheaded by Kidsave with underwriter support provided by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, is looking to reduce the gap between the number of older Black youth in foster care and the number of Black families mentoring, fostering, and adopting these children.

EMBRACE Project Statistics

Did You Know?

There are


Black children in foster care.

Source: Statista

EMBRACE Task Force Members


In addition to the research study, a diverse, volunteer task force of policy professionals and child welfare advocates has been formed to propose transformative policies and programs for Black children that leverage the project’s findings.

How to get involved


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Latest news and progress for the EMBRACE Project.

Learn More


Use the contact information or fill out an inquiry form.

Shantay Armstrong
Strategic Communications Manager

Direct: 213-315-1657
Main Office: 310-642-7283


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Your donation will help us continue our research to identify perceptions and barriers impacting the Black community and improve health outcomes for Black youth in foster care.

The EMBRACE Project would not be possible without
funding and support from our mission-aligned partners.