Black and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children are overrepresented in the child welfare system, resulting in disparate outcomes. Inequitable decision-making results in racial disparities at nearly every point along the child welfare continuum.

Families from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds may experience inequitable outcomes when they become involved with child welfare. For example, African American families are more likely to be investigated by child protective services than other families. Additionally, Black, Hispanic, and AI/AN families disproportionately experience poverty, which increases their likelihood of being reported to child protective services than families with more resources.  

To address disproportionality and disparity within the child welfare system, it is necessary to understand factors that influence these inequities, such as biases and oversurveillance of low-income families. Addressing racial disproportionality, racism, bias, and discriminatory practices requires change at the policy, program, and workforce levels. It is important to acknowledge and address the historical trauma faced by Black and AI/AN families through a culturally responsive and trauma-informed approach.

Use the resources in this section to learn about disparities within the child welfare system and discover strategies for eliminating disproportionality.

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