GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As Foster Care Awareness Month continues, a virtual town hall was held to bring attention to the need for foster families and highlight racial bias in Michigan’s foster care system.

“There is disproportionality of children of color who are removed from home,” Laura Mitchell, the executive director of foster care services for Samaritas, said.

Mitchell joined the WOOD TV8 Live Desk Thursday morning to share more about the virtual town hall.

“In Michigan, 31% of the children are children of color. However, they comprise 51% of the children who are in foster care in Michigan,” Mitchell added.

Mitchell said the virtual town hall would discuss efforts to address this issue for children of color. Demetrius Starling, the executive director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Services Agency and Kim Reese, director of the Michigan Race Equity Diversity Inclusion Office, were among the panelists featured. Representatives from Samaritas and Court Appointed Special Advocates were also on hand.

“In Michigan, we have a strong need for foster families,” Mitchell said. “I’m hoping that people will be moved to consider being foster parents,” she added.

A replay of the Thursday virtual town hall can be found above.