Whenever I say those words to my parents, they know I’ve got something tricky to explain to them, something with many layers and intricacies. They’ll ask me, “when are you coming home for Thanksgiving?” and I’ll say “so, here’s the thing… I’m thinking of going to Chicago first and then….” I proceed on with a long-winded story of how I’ll end up in their dining room in Indianapolis on Thanksgiving Day.
So, here’s the thing…
Disproportionality. It’s a word says and implies a lot really quickly- many layers, intricacies. In the context of CASA, it means that there is a higher proportion of children that belong to X group in foster care than belong to X group in the scope of national demographics. What we’re experiencing in the foster care system right now is a higher percentage of children of color in the system than the percentage of children of color at large in the United States. (Here’s a link for people who like the statistics and graphs behind it all.) The comparison can be made across gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, legal status, and other factors that can contribute to a child’s experience in the foster care system. While the root causes of disproportionality are complex to identify, what most professionals can agree on is that it certainly exists.
“The National CASA Association believes that embracing diversity and inclusiveness strengthens the status of children and their families and is vital to the organization’s vision, mission and development initiatives.” This commitment resonates here in CASA Nashville as well. During our volunteer training, we spend particular time focusing on the diversity within Davidson County and recognizing our own backgrounds. Some of our continuing education opportunities are also dedicated to concepts and themes of diversity.
-Ally, CASA Nashville