Casework strategies used to address disproportionality and disparity in the child welfare system are often the same strategies used to improve outcomes for all children and families; however, agencies are beginning to explore more deliberate approaches. The resources on this page describe casework strategies that can be used for reducing inequity at various points along the child welfare continuum including in prevention; screening and assessment; decision-making; service provision, and permanency.
Addressing Racial Inequity in Child Welfare: The Key Role of Prevention Services
Center for New York City Affairs at The New School
Explains how prevention programs in New York City utilize efforts to address racial disparities at the organizational level, in their services provided, and through the formation of racial equity committees.
Impact of PACE Program on Racial Disparities in the Child Welfare System (PDF - 278 KB)
Explains how one program being used in Minnesota, PACE, offers preventive and corrective case management services for parents and children of color, reducing the need for children to be placed in out-of-home care.
Seizing the Opportunity: 10 Ways to Advance Equity Through the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA)
Center for the Study of Social Policy (2018)
Outlines opportunities to use the Family First Prevention Services Act to advance equity and promote positive outcomes for children and families.
Can Decreasing Unwarranted Reports to Child Protection Agencies Improve Outcomes for Children and Families?
Casey Family Programs (2020)
Discusses a study about how mandatory reporting requirements for child abuse and neglect are not well understood and can result in unwarranted, poor-quality reports that maintain racial and cultural inequities and negatively impact families.
Our Systems Meant to Help Are Hurting Black Families
National Institute for Children’s Health Quality
Explores how mandated reporting can disrupt families of color, causing harm to the children that providers intend to protect.
Webinar: Policing by Another Name: Mandated Reporting as State Surveillance
Shriver Center on Poverty Law (2020)
Offers a webinar on the disproportionate effects of mandated reporting requirements on communities of color and those living in poverty.
How Did the Blind Removal Process in Nassau County, N.Y., Address Disparity Among Children Entering Care?
Casey Family Programs (2021)
Discusses a method used by one county in New York to reduce racial disparities in decision-making by introducing a blind removal process. Using this process, investigators receive case files without any demographic information such as names, races, ethnicities, or addresses that may illicit bias.
Oregon DHS Safety At Screening Tool – Development and Execution (PDF - 430 KB)
Oregon Department of Human Services
Analyzes a tool developed in Oregon to improve the accuracy of child protection screening to promote more equitable decision making.
Reducing Racial Disparity and Disproportionality in Child Welfare: Programs
California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare
Reviews interventions to address disparities in the child welfare system, including Family Assessment Response, Family Group Decision Making, and Structured Decision-Making.
The Team-Decision Making Model
Explains the Team-Decision Making model, which uses inclusive safety planning for children and creates potential to reduce racial disparities in removal decisions.
That Which Is Essential Has Been Made Invisible: The Need to Bring a Structural Risk Perspective to Reduce Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare
Feely & Bosk (2021)
Race and Social Problems, 13
Examines efforts in the child welfare system to control for racial bias in child protection through the Structured Decision-Making model. The study also suggests a new framework for thinking about risk and calls for a revisioning of assessment of risk decisions in child welfare.
Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Maternal and Child Health Through Home Visiting Programs
Center for Health Care Strategies
Analyzes strategies that can be used to reduce disparities by providing home visiting services including screenings, case management, and family support.
Advancing Racial Equity in Fatherhood Programs [Podcast]
On the Evidence (2021)
Offers a podcast that reviews the ways racism and inequality affect fathers and families involved with child welfare and discusses how a more inclusive father engagement strategy can help.
Cultural Broker Program
California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse
Explains the use of cultural brokers to provide advocacy and support to families who are involved with the child welfare system or at risk of involvement. The program helps address concerns related to disproportionality and cultural misunderstandings.
Home Visiting: A Strategy to Mitigate Racial Inequities
Parents as Teachers (2020)
Outlines how home visiting through the Parents as Teachers program helps to improve parenting and family engagement as well as to reduce child abuse and neglect. Home visiting is also described as a strategy to reduce inequity through improved access to services.
Black Children Are Overrepresented in Foster Care: Here’s How We Can Address This Disparity
KVC Kansas (2022)
Describes a strategy to reduce inequity in foster care by placing Black children into families in their own communities and by recruiting foster parents and kinship caregivers that reflect their cultural identity and values.
A Case Study in Public Child Welfare: County-Level Practices That Address Racial Disparity in Foster Care Placement (PDF - 309 KB)
Pryce, Lee, Crowe, Park, McCarthy, & Owens (2019)
Journal of Public Child Welfare, 13(1)
Studies two jurisdictions that have reduced the number of Black children in foster care and examines approaches that address racial disproportionality and racial disparity, including differential response.
Family Preservation Matters: Why Kinship Care for Black Families, Native American Families, and Other Families of Color Is Critical to Preserve Culture and Restore Family Bonds
Juvenile Law Center (2020)
Focuses on the importance of prioritizing kinship care for Black and Native families to promote racial equity and ensure a sense of culture and history within families involved in the child welfare system.
How Can Kinship Care Advance Racial Equity in Child Welfare? [Webinar]
Presents a webinar on kinship care and discusses how supporting Black and indigenous kinship caregivers is a necessary step toward racial equality in child welfare.
Kinship Care in Pennsylvania: Creating an Equitable System for Families
Pennsylvania Partnership for Children (2021)
Identifies ways to ensure that when children or youth must be removed from the home, they remain with kin to ensure they are keeping connections to their community and culture to ultimately improve permanency outcomes.
Racial Disparities in Foster Care: Invest in Families of Color
Children’s Rights (2019)
Reviews a report that showed a greater focus on how community investment can reduce racial disparities and outcomes for children and suggests placing Black children with families in their own communities when they must enter out-of-home care.