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May 2008Vol. 9, No. 4Examining Disproportionality at the National, State, and County Levels

A new study from the Casey-CSSP Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare expands the field of knowledge about racial and ethnic disproportionality and disparities in the child welfare system by studying the phenomenon at the national, State, and county levels. The percentages and experiences of children within five racial and ethnic groups (American Indians/Native Americans/Alaska Natives; Asian Americans/Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders; Blacks; Hispanics; and Whites) were compared at three decision-making stages of the child protective process: investigation, substantiated investigation, and placement into foster care.

Findings at the national level confirm that Black children and Native American children are overrepresented disproportionately within the foster care system. Also, children of all racial and ethnic groups, except White children, are represented at increasingly higher percentages in later stages of the child protection system, in contrast to White children, whose percentages decrease further into the child protective process.

In addition to presenting results at the national level, the report examines disproportionality and disparity in four States (Minnesota, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington) and five counties. Several statistical tables are presented for each State and county along with a written analysis examining the patterns of disproportionality and disparity in that location.

The full study, An Analysis Of Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality and Disparity at the National, State, and County Levels, by Robert B. Hill, can be found on the Annie E. Casey Foundation website: (PDF - 1,034 KB)