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Black foster boys: Randy Wagstaff's character forced back into adoption

Actor Maestro Harrell attends A Day of Beauty for Their Best Buddies at Blushington Make-Up and Beauty Lounge on March 12, 2013 in West Hollywood, Calif.
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez

Watching the end of season 4 may have broken hearts for those who were a fan of Randy Wagstaff (played by Maestro Harrell). Randy was a cute kid with a business mind, a charismatic personality and a genuine interest in school, but he made the mistake of being a bit too naive when it came to other students. He also succeeded in helping viewers make Detective Thomas "Herc" Hauk (played by Domenick Lombardozzi) almost as hated as a few other characters -- take your pick.

And in real life, there are quite a few Randys in the world.

According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), a 2013 study calculates that there more males (52 percent) than females (48 percent) in adoption agencies. The highest percent (8 percent) were age 1 and then three other ages tied at 7 percent (age 2, age 16 and age 17).

Whites are the highest majority (42 percent) in foster care followed by 26 percent of African-Americans and 21 percent Latinos. Around the same number entered foster care in 2012: 45 percent white, 22 percent African-American and 21 percent Latino, with the highest percent (16 percent) being less than a year old.

Whites are also the highest majority (44 percent) to exit foster care, followed by 25 percent of African-Americans and 20 percent of Latinos. The most popular reason (51 percent) that a child would be able to leave foster care is after reuniting with parents or the primary caretakers.

In the case of Randy, Miss Anna Jeffries (played by Denise Hart) had burns so bad from the fire that was thrown into their home so she could no longer take care of him. And Sergeant Ellis Carver (played by Seth Gilliam) was turned down by Social Security to take Randy in for at least three or four months. By season 5, Randy learned to hold his own and become the type of boy he avoided, but at some point, the discussion must come up. Is he wrong? Or, is he a product of a system that has long failed him?

Potential foster parents and/or families should contact AdoptUSKids, the National Adoption Agency and local adoption agencies.

Shamontiel is the Scandal Examiner and the National African American Entertainment Examiner, too.

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