The Washington DC Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. received a Federal Children’s Bureau 2014 Adoption Excellence Award in the category Business Contributions/Initiatives. This is a national recognition by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the extraordinary contributions made in providing adoption and other permanency outcomes for children in foster care.
In 2010 the Sorority’s Eastern Region’s initiative to address foster care and adoption was designed to be a Regional Day of Service. However, given the complexity of issues surrounding foster care and adoption, it was decided that it would require more than just one day of action to meaningfully address these issues and achieve positive impacts. The Washington DC Alumnae Chapter furthermore has elected to continue this initiative and make it into a full program, developing strategic community partnerships promoting awareness & bringing attention to the needs of children in the District who are living in foster care and those who are waiting to be adopted.
The need for a program such as this is due to the elevated rates of poverty and child abuse or neglect in African American communities which have resulted in a disproportionate share of African American children in foster care systems across the country. According to a 2007 University of Chicago report, Black children make up 37% of the children in foster care systems throughout the country despite the fact that they only make up 15% of the children living in the United States; and unfortunately, approximately 11% of children actually “age-out” of the system. The outcomes facing youth who age out of the child welfare system without permanent families are startling; research tells us that these young people have an increased likelihood in experiencing homelessness, poor health, unemployment, incarceration and other negative outcomes.