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San Diego civic leaders call for more equity in local foster care system

Posted at 5:56 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 20:56:11-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Wednesday, a group of advocates spoke out about the changes they say are desperately needed to bring more equity to San Diego's foster care system.

With a light blue ribbon meant to mark National Foster Care Month, civil rights activist Rev. Shane Harris said he and others will be asking the county Board of Supervisors to consider a list of proposals.

"Serious changes have to happen when it comes to our foster care system," Harris said.

Currently, there are roughly 2,500 children in San Diego County that are in the foster system.

Among the proposals, Harris and others are suggesting policies that prioritize placing children of color who end up in the system back with family members; dedicate more funding to young people about to age out of the foster care system; and end the use of the word "case" to refer to foster youth.

"We can address the inequity that has long stood for families of color and in particular African American families," said Harris.

Harris was also joined by San Diego Unified School Board President Richard Barrera to draw attention to an issue created by the pandemic.

"We've become very concerned that the reporting of abuse has dropped significantly," Barrera added.

Dropped because kids simply weren't in school and the teachers and staff entrusted to look out for signs of abuse couldn't see them in person.

"As we build our mandated reporting system back that it's a system that is more grounded in equity and grounded in a focus on support rather than a focus on law enforcement," Barrera said.