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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Child Welfare Practice to Address Racial Disproportionality and Disparity
Explore factors that contribute to racial and ethnic disproportionality and disparity in the child welfare system. The publication also outlines strategies to assist professionals with addressing these issues and decision-making along the continuum.
Spotlight on Racial Disproportionality
Learn about the causes of racial inequalities in the child welfare system and examine the impact of racial bias in the education system, mental health system, and education system on disparities within the juvenile justice systems.
Equity in Action
Read about an approach to advance equity; engage parents, youth, and families; and promote the economic and social well-being of children, youth, families, individuals, and communities.
Intersectionality in Child Welfare
Learn about the concept of intersectionality, the importance of social identities, and how they intersect across systems of discrimination and privilege and how it has contributed to inequality and injustice.
Equity in Action: Prioritizing and Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities
Read an information memorandum that outlines an unequivocal commitment to advancing racial equity for all and encouraging grantees to assess and address how its programs and policies may perpetuate systemic barriers for children and families of color ...Read More
Cocreating a More Equitable Child Welfare System
Read considerations that can help child welfare agency teams engage with young people and families with lived experience and expertise to address racial inequity, disparities, and disproportionality and cocreate a more equitable child welfare system.