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March 2011Vol. 12, No. 2Promising Practices for Addressing Racial Disproportionality

For a number of years, researchers have reported—and many jurisdictions have struggled with—the overrepresentation of children from certain ethnic and racial groups in the child welfare system. Often, the causes of racial disproportionality have been discussed in terms of cultural competence and the cultural gap that frequently exists between child welfare workers and the families they serve.

A new issue brief from Child Welfare Information Gateway focuses on some promising practices from around the country that agencies and jurisdictions have implemented to respond to disproportionality. Addressing Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare looks at the various decision points in the child welfare process where overrepresentation (or underrepresentation) of different racial or ethnic groups may occur and notes promising programs that address disproportionality at those decision points. The issue brief explores disproportionality in terms of:

  • Prevalence
  • Community development and prevention
  • Reporting and screening
  • Investigation and assessment
  • Service provision
  • Permanency for children in out-of-home care
  • Across the stages of child welfare
  • States' efforts
  • Strategies and research

In spotlighting some promising practices for addressing disproportionality for specific groups, the issue brief notes that many of these strategies are the same ones that agencies can use to improve child welfare outcomes for all children.

Read or download the issue brief from the Information Gateway website: