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Conference focuses on racial healing in foster care system


Terry Jones will speak on, "Racial Healing in the Foster Care System: What;'s Love Got to Do With It." (Photo: Diane Daniel)

  • March 18, 2011

Terry Jones, Cal State East Bay professor emeritus of social work, will keynote an April 8 conference on "Racial Healing in the Foster Care System: What's Love Got to Do with it." The program will be held at the university's Oakland Center.

The all-day program will address a foster care system that Jones says is performing as "home breakers" rather than "home builders."

"The foster care system has not served African American children and families well," said Jones. "There are a disproportionate number of African Americans committed to foster care, they stay in foster care longer than whites, and when they exit, they exit to a situation of turmoil and uncertainty."

"We can and should do better than we have done. From a policy perspective we need to move from a 'blaming the victim' approach to a recognition that our institutions are failing African American youth, families and communities," Jones said.

He will stress the need to both recognize the reality of class conflict and inequality, while formulating better survival strategies for foster care youth about to age out of the system.

Another presentation will look at an institutional racism analysis of child welfare policies, while Robert Jemerson, head trainer for the Alameda County Independent Living Skills Program, will facilitate the plenary, a panel discussion with questions and answers.

The event luncheon will honor Carol Collins, assistant agency director of the Alameda County Department of Children and Family Services.

The conference is sponsored by Cal State East Bay, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Pivotal Point Youth Services, Alameda County Independent Living Skills Program, Alameda County Social Services Agency and Beyond Emancipation.

For information, contact Evaon Wong-Kim, social work chair, at or Jones at

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