Nathaniel Brown was known as the runaway kid.
In his mind he was just the big black kid who no one loved and, except for monetary gain, no one wanted.
And so, yes, when the verbal, physical and sexual abuse became unbearable at a series of foster homes in South Carolina, poor Nathaniel ran back to the one place – Spartanburg Children’s Shelter — where he felt loved.
In nearly every foster home where he had been placed since age 4, he’d been made to feel like he should be grateful he had a place to live. No one talked to him except to scold or remind him he was nothing.
“I had to hear that over and over,” he said. “It was an awful feeling.”
We’ve known for at least the last three decades that black children in the child welfare system are placed in foster care at twice the rate of white children. And once removed from their homes, black children remain in foster care longer, are moved more often, receive fewer services and are less likely to either be returned home or adopted than any other children.
Kevin Harper is the author of the upcoming book Foster Parenting Teens, and a foster care speaker, trainer, and mentor with Family Resource & Training Center. His daughter Saty Cornelius just released a book about the experiences of foster teens called More to Me, available on Amazon. Connect with Kevin on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @fosterbetter.