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 systems 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 the systems level.
Advancing Racial Equity in Child Welfare: Child Welfare Virtual Expo (CWVE) 2021
Capacity Building Center for States (2021)
Presents videos and discussion guides from youth and families with lived experience to encourage individuals to learn about racial inequity, acknowledge the problem, and take action for improvement.
Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare
Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP)
Highlights CSSP's systematic approach with partners to affect positive outcomes on racial equity and bias, including trainings available to the public on this issue.
Child Welfare Practice to Address Racial Disproportionality and Disparity
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.
Equity and Social Justice in Child Welfare
ZERO TO THREE
Offers a list of resources for achieving equity and social justice in child welfare and the need to address historical trauma.
Integrating Positive Youth Development and Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Approaches Across the Child Welfare and Justice Systems
Lantos, Allen, Abdi, Franco, Moore, Snell, Bruce, et al. (2022)
Explores why the child welfare systems needs to emphasize positive youth development. This report provides guidance on using a strengths-based framework to support youth involved in the child welfare system.
Intersectionality in Child Welfare (PDF - 271 KB)
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (2021)
Illustrates the framework of intersectionality and emphasizes the importance of social identities and how they overlap across systems of discrimination and privilege.
Race and Equity in Child and Family Serving Systems
The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare
Discusses methods for changing the culture of child welfare organizations to create more equitable and inclusive practices while working with children and families.
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
Offers a list of resources to support child welfare staff and leaders as they confront implicit bias, implement system changes, and work to achieve racial equity within their organizations and across systems.
Transforming Child Welfare: Prioritizing Prevention, Racial Equity, and Advancing Child and Family Well-Being
Thomas & Halbert (2021)
National Council on Family Relations
Discusses the need for a transformational shift of the child welfare system to become more focused on the prevention of child maltreatment and racial equity. The brief also discusses how the child welfare system should improve and sustain child and family well-being and how the Family First Prevention Services Act plays a critical role in that effort.
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.