Historically, the public child welfare system has struggled to provide equitable services to marginalized groups. Specifically American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, and Hispanic/Latino children and families have experienced disparate treatment, which is often linked to adverse outcomes. Additionally, more research is available about children and youth who identify as LGBTQ+ and the disparate treatment they receive and unfavorable outcomes they are seeing. This section includes data on disproportionality and disparities within the child welfare system and approaches to calculating disproportionality rates.
2019 Report on Disproportionality of Placements of Indian Children (PDF - 105 KB)
National Indian Child Welfare Association (2019)
Describes what disproportionality is and statistics on the overrepresentation of American Indian/Alaska Native children within the foster care system. The 15 States with the highest rates of disproportionality are listed.
2021 Kids Count Data Book: 2021 State Trends in Child Well-Being
Annie E. Casey Foundation (2021)
Explores how children across the United States were faring during the coronavirus pandemic and provides data on racial inequities.
Are Sexual Minority Youth Overrepresented in Foster Care, Child Welfare, and Out-of-Home Placement? Findings From Nationally Representative Data (PDF - 356 KB)
Fish, Baams, Wojciak, & Russell (2019)
Child Abuse & Neglect, 89
Presents the results of a study that showed sexual minority youth (ex. lesbian, gay, bisexual, and same-sex attracted) youth are almost two and a half times as likely as heterosexual youth to experience foster care placement and are largely overrepresented in child welfare services and out-of-home placement.
Child Welfare Practice to Address Racial Disproportionality and Disparity
Children in Foster Care by Race and Hispanic Origin in the United States
Annie E. Casey Foundation, KIDS COUNT Data Center (2022)
Provides the number and percentage of children categorized by race in foster care in the United States annually for 2010–2019. The tabs at the top of the webpage and the menu on the left-hand sidebar change how the data are visualized and which data are visualized.
LGBTQ Youth in the Child Welfare System (PDF - 800 KB)
Movement Advancement Project (2018)
Shares an infographic explaining the overrepresentation of LGBTQ+ youth in the child welfare system and presents statistics on the disparate outcomes experienced by this population.