To address disproportionality and disparity within the child welfare system, it is necessary to understand the root causes and contributing factors that influence these inequities. This section provides resources and information that explore the causes of disproportionality and disparity, including State and local examples.
Addressing Bias in Delinquency and Child Welfare Systems: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile and Family Courts Is Critical to Creating a Fair and Equitable System of Justice for All Youth (PDF - 429 KB)
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, State Justice Institute, & National Juvenile Defender Center (2018)
Discusses the influence that bias has in juvenile and family court and its impact on racial disproportionality in their respective systems. The resource, which is a bench card for judges, also includes tools for self-reflection and strategies to reduce and remove implicit bias from the courtroom.
Entangled Roots: The Role of Race in Policies That Separate Families (PDF - 1,587 KB)
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Explores the role race has played in policy across several systems, including child welfare, immigration, and criminal justice, leading to racially disproportionate and disparate outcomes for families of color. The child welfare system is discussed on pages 15–19.
However Kindly Intentioned: Structural Racism and Volunteer CASA Programs
Mulzer & Urs (2017)
CUNY Law Review, 20(1)
Details the role that structural racism plays in child welfare decision-making, with a specific focus on volunteer court-appointed special advocates. The influence structural racism has on disproportionality and disparity is noted throughout.
How Foster Care Has Stripped Native American Children of Their Own Cultures
Teen Vogue & Juvenile Law Center
Describes the history of the treatment of Native Americans in the United States and its continued impact on the disproportionality of Native American children who are in the foster care system today. The article also describes the introduction and impact of the Indian Child Welfare Act as a way to move from government-sanctioned removals to government-sanctioned protections for Native Americans.
Identifying Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Human Services: A Conceptual Framework and Literature Review
McDaniel, Woods, Pratt, & Simms (2017)
Discusses existing research about racial and ethnic disparities in human services across Administration for Children and Families programs and provides a conceptual framework based upon the research. Hypothesized factors that influence racial and ethnic disparities are highlighted throughout the report.
Race, Equity, and Ethics: Questions on Child Welfare and Predictive Analytics [Webinar]
Halyard & Russell (2017)
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Discusses factors that impact families being brought to the attention of child welfare systems and the implications of those factors on predictive modeling. These factors are discussed within the lens of race, equity, and ethics.
|Series Title||Bulletins for Professionals|
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Download (PDF - 523KB)
Racial Disproportionality and Disparities in the Child Welfare System: Why Do They Exist, and What Can Be Done to Address Them?
Dettlaff & Boyd (2021)
The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Reviews causes of racial disproportionality and the best way to address it. The article indicates that racial disparity causes separation of families, which should not be viewed as acceptable.
Missing Threads: The Story of the Wisconsin Indian Child Welfare Act [Video]
Midwest Child Welfare Implementation Center, Ho-Chunk Nation, Oneida Nation, & Forest County Potawatomi Foundation
Shares the history of how Native American children and families were treated in the United States and how that has contributed to disproportionality and disparities within the child welfare system. The resource tells the story of how the Wisconsin Indian Child Welfare Act came to be and describes the fortified protections it provides for Native American children and families in Wisconsin.
Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Child Removals Go Unaddressed Here
University of Southern California, Center for Health Journalism
Arizona Daily Star
Describes the lack of adequate action in relation to the discussion on disproportionality and disparity within child welfare in Pima County, Arizona.