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Stories about kids, guns and how to stop the violence. Precious Lives, created by 371 Productions, is a 2-year, 100-part weekly radio series about gun violence and young people in the Milwaukee area. The series applies a public health lens to each story to help listeners understand the full scope of the problem: who are the victims and the shooters; how are the weapons obtained; and what can we change about the environment that contributes to violence in Milwaukee?

#082 Precious Lives: Breaking the Foster Care to Prison Pipeline

Photo courtesy of Jermaine Reed’s Facebook page
Jermaine Reed, founder of Fresh Start Family Services, is on a mission to break the “foster care to prison pipeline.” ";s:

Black youth make up two-thirds of the kids in Milwaukee's foster care system.

This worries Jermaine Reed. He is determined to make foster care a more effective system -- especially for black youth.

He calls foster care an incubator for the criminal justice system.

"Children being in foster care is a trauma event. Period."

Jermaine is the executive director of Fresh Start Family Services, Wisconsin’s first private placement agency run by an African American. He also hosts Fresh Start Today, a radio program on WNOV dedicated to educating the black community about child welfare.

He believes that bias in the system and a lack of culturally appropriate care causes further damage to a group of kids already walking around with too much trauma.

Jermaine worries that without proper treatment, black children in the foster system are at greater risk of picking up a gun.

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