Child abuse is very widespread in America and many helpless children live their lives based on abuse and confusion. Many children who experience abuse (particularly those from low income families) are eventually taken away from their abuser and brought into the foster care program. "The child welfare system, foster care in particular, has been a poor people's system even though child abuse and neglect are not limited to poor families" (Dickerson, 2005, p. 13). Though child abuse is not directed at a particular group of people, some researchers have aimed their concerns toward child abuse that occurs in African Americans. "Statistics indicate that African-American children have the highest rate of victimization (19.5 percent), compared to White children (10.8), or Hispanic children (10.7)" (Henderson, 2008, p. 141).
In some cases, child abuse in African Americans derives from the amount of drugs that the mother intakes during her pregnancy. "Since the mid-1980s, when the introduction of highly addictive crack cocaine to low-income urban neighborhoods claimed large numbers of women, there has been growing concern about maternal substance abuse and its negative consequence for children and families" (Marcenko, Kemp, & Larson, 2000, p. 316). Although it is not always the case, the rapid growth of children in foster care is due to substance-abusing mothers (Marcenko et al., 2000). Another factor that comes to mind when dealing with substance-abusing mothers and child abuse is maternal age. "When the role of substance abuse is considered, the relationship between maternal age and risk for child abuse becomes more complex" (Ornduff, Kelsey, Bursi, Alpert, & Bada, 2002, p. 436). Studies show that substance-abusing mothers were also victims of child abuse (Marcenko et al., 2000). Substance-abusing mothers cannot always be the blame for the amount of child abuse in African Americans because child abuse is also derived from other issues.