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February 2010Vol. 11, No. 1States' Efforts to Reduce Racial Disproportionality

States continue to be challenged by the disproportionate representation of children from certain racial or ethnic communities in their child welfare systems. A new report from the Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare examines the progress that 11 States (California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, and Washington) have made in identifying and addressing racial disproportionality through State legislative policy. The strategies are discussed in terms of six dimensions of change necessary for addressing racial disproportionality:

  • Legislation, Policy Change, Finance Reform
  • Youth, Parent, and Community Partnership and Development
  • Public Will and Communication
  • Human Service Workforce Development
  • Practice Change
  • Research, Evaluation, and Data-Based Decision-making

The report also notes the following key strategies developed by the States:

  • Ongoing data analysis to address disproportionality
  • Education, training, and awareness at all levels (investigations, case management, service provision, and community)
  • Family-focused and strengths-based practices, including alternative response and family team conferencing principles
  • Increased supports for kinship placements to achieve permanency
  • Identification of existing policies and practices that may be contributing factors to disproportionality
  • Targeted recruitment of foster parents in specific communities and matching foster families

The report, Policy Action to Reduce Racial Disproportionality and Disparities in Child Welfare: A Scan of Eleven States, was prepared by the Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare and is available on the Policy for Results website: