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April 2008Vol. 9, No. 3Examining the Relationship Between Race and Outcomes in Child Welfare

A new report suggests that race is a significant factor associated with whether or not a child in foster care is successfully reunited with his or her family. The report reviews 11 articles and reports that analyzed data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being to examine the relationship between race/ethnicity and several child welfare outcomes. The outcomes included:

  • Child factors and related services, including early childhood development, early intervention services, and mental health and substance abuse treatment
  • Parental factors and related services, including parental arrest and child involvement with child welfare agencies
  • Reunification and related services

While this report found that race/ethnicity was not a significant predictor in the receipt of services for children remaining at home or as a general indicator of whether children would be placed in out-of-home care, there were significant relationships between race and outcomes in other areas:

  • African-American children were more likely to be placed in out-of-home care following a CPS investigation.
  • African-American children were less likely to receive developmental services.
  • African-American children ages 6 to 10 were less likely to receive mental health treatment.
  • African-American infants and children older than age 10 were less likely to achieve reunification.

The report, Racial Disproportionality, Race Disparity, and Other Race-Related Findings in Published Works Derived From the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, was written by Keesha Dunbar and Richard P. Barth and published by the Casey-CSSP Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare.{C43DF3DA-45D1-4EDA-AC79-DBA926E28CF6} (PDF - 1,495 KB)