Foster Care Culture in Indiana (from my perspective as an Alumnus of Foster Care)

Having been in the Foster Care system in Indiana was both traumatic and exhausting.  Although I entered the system in 1999, much has not changed regarding the foster care system in Indiana, in which youth become lost each and every year. My brother and I entered the foster care system due to familial barriers, which were generational , such as domestic violence, drug abuse, and little to no education. Once we entered the foster care system, things were not better considering  that we were supposed to be protected by the Department of Child and Family Services. Joshua and I both experienced physical abuse and were treated  poorly throughout our stay in foster care. As we navigated throughout the foster care system and were eventually adopted, things continued to get worse. We were adopted by an African American Family. We were constantly reminded that we were "black and nothing else." I entered the foster care system at the age of 9, so I was aware and proud of my ethnicity, yet I was being told that I was not partially white. I struggled with my identity until recently after conducting an ancestry test. Culturally, I was not supported as a youth in foster care and this has had a huge impact on my life. Although I do not blame DCS for everything, there was a lot of bias involved in our case. Being bi-racial and growing up within a White familial system, we were placed into African American Homes. Reflecting back on documents and essentially my life, a lot  of decisions on my placment in foster care was based off of the color of my skin. This is the reality for a lot of children of color in the system and continues to be an issue. Children of color are over represented as youth in foster care compared to their white counter parts. According to the Child Welfare Gate (2018), between 2006 and 2016, Black and Hispanic children represented 43% of the 250, 248 children who were involved in the foster care system. It is important that individuals continue to advocate and to be culturally sensitive to youth in foster care because the impact can last a lifetime.