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February 2007Vol. 8, No. 1Addressing Racial Disproportionality at 10 Sites

An in-depth review of strategies in 10 jurisdictions around the country revealed some key components for effectively addressing racial disproportionality in the child welfare system. The Casey-Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) Alliance for Racial Equity conducted the study, which identified 10 sites where States or agencies were actively addressing the overrepresentation of minority children in child welfare.

Findings revealed the following key strategies:

  • Placing a high priority on reducing racial inequities in the agency and in the larger community
  • Using data to understand the problem, formulate solutions, and track progress
  • Conducting evaluations to assess progress
  • Improving service delivery and expanding scarce service resources and interventions
  • Partnering with communities
  • Redesigning policy interventions

In many cases, the promising practices were changes likely to improve services for all families—regardless of color or ethnic background—in the child welfare system. Some of these universal services include the expanded use of differential response and the introduction of family group conferencing.

The report also outlines some background issues surrounding racial disproportionality in child welfare, discusses the use of different strategies at different points within the child welfare process, and provides summaries of each jurisdiction's strategies and outcome data.

Places to Watch: Promising Practices to Address Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare Services is available on the CSSP website:

Related Item

Children's Bureau Express has addressed the topic of racial disproportionality in child welfare in a number of past issues. To find these articles, type the keyword "disproportionality" into the search box on the Children's Bureau Express home page: