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April 2012Vol. 13, No. 3Research Synthesis on Disproportionality

In July of 2010, the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) and The Annie E. Casey Foundation held a symposium to discuss a series of papers assessing current research on racial disparities in child welfare. The symposium was an initiative of the Alliance for Racial Equality, whose goal is to improve outcomes for children and families of color served by the child welfare system while simultaneously addressing those disparities.

The symposium was structured with the goal of garnering input from individuals with broad, and sometimes differing, perspectives. The resulting compendium of papers includes "A Research Synthesis on Child Welfare Disproportionality and Disparities," as well as a series of response papers reflecting on that synthesis. The synthesis updates research from Robert Hill's 2006 Research Synthesis in Child Welfare: An Update and identifies significant updates and gaps in research regarding the role of race and ethnicity in child welfare.

The third portion of the compendium is titled "Racial Equity in Child Welfare: Key Themes, Findings and Perspectives" and was developed after the symposium. It serves as a summary of information presented and discussed at the symposium, examines new research and data published since then, provides an analysis of the areas where the research is the clearest as well as where findings remain inconclusive, and points to places where further research is most urgently needed.

Disparities and Disproportionality in Child Welfare: Analysis of the Research can be found on the CSSP website: (3 MB)