Historically, the child welfare system has struggled with achieving equity for all identity groups. There are myriad issues that contribute to the disproportionate adversity experienced by families of color. Additionally, children and youth from diverse populations are overrepresented in the system and may receive less consistent services. This disproportionality often results in unequal outcomes.
It is therefore essential to address these issues, at the individual and systems levels. Black, Brown, and Native children cannot be supported without simultaneously strengthening and caring for Black, Brown, and Native families. This includes investing in prevention services and wraparound services for struggling parents as well as antiracism training for child welfare professionals. Antiracism is defined by the active opposition of racist ideology and the promotion of racial tolerance. Below, find resources about implementing antiracism practices and working with diverse populations at a systems level.
A Case Study in Public Child Welfare: County-Level Practices That Address Race Disparity in Foster Care Placement
Pryce, Lee, Crowe, Park, McCarthy, & Owens (2018)
Journal of Public Child Welfare, 13(1)
Identifies factors that mitigate racial disproportionately in child welfare practice, including community collaborations, case-practice development, and blind removal meetings.
Disproportionality and Disparity in Child Welfare
National Conference of State Legislatures (2021)
Presents information concerning the role of Federal and State laws in addressing racial disproportionality in the child welfare system.
New Resources Help Organizations Advance Race Equity at Every Step
Annie E. Casey Foundation (2018)
Presents a guide to support child welfare agencies in eliminating systemic racism. Steps include understanding principles of inclusion, engaging communities, and leveraging data.
Promoting Racial Equity Through Workforce & Organizational Actions (PDF - 234 KB)
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
Describes what racial equity is in child welfare, why we need to take action, and how to address it. This infographic also has a supporting discussion guide to help professionals better understand the topic.
Race and Class in the Child Welfare System
Public Broadcasting Service
Analyzes ways in which race affects child protective service caseworkers’ decisions to remove children from their homes.
Race and Equity in Child and Family Serving Systems
The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (2020)
Discusses methods for changing the culture of child welfare organizations to create more equitable and inclusive practices while working with children and families.
Race Equity Crosswalk Tool: Targeted and Universal Strategies Achieve Better and More Equitable Results (PDF - 397 KB)
Annie E. Casey Foundation (2017)
Contains four quick and concrete recommended steps to close racial equity gaps. The resource includes questions to help develop a results action plan with strategies that specifically target racial equity.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
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White Privilege in Child Welfare: What Racism Looks Like
Discusses the historical context through which racism and racial disproportionality developed in child welfare practice. The article includes suggestions for how to deconstruct these racist policies within the system.