Family, crack, black, foster care, kin networks, poverty, innercity


Numerous African American families have struggled for generations with persistent poverty, especially in the inner city. These conditions were further strained during the 1980s and 1990s by the widespread use of crack cocaine. For many, crack use became an obsession, dominated their lives, and superseded family responsibilities. This behavior placed additional pressure on already stressed kin support networks. This paper explores the processes prevailing in two households during this period. In the 2000s, children born to members of the Crack Generation are avoiding use of crack but face major deficits from their difficult childhoods. This presents both challenges and opportunities. The discussion considers initiatives from both a social problems and a strengths perspective that could help these families and help these families help themselves to advance their economic circumstances.

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