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November 2015Vol. 16, No. 8Improving Racial Equity in Child Welfare Policy

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) recently published a report providing State policymakers with research-informed, evidence-based suggestions for policy strategy aimed at supporting outcomes and well-being for children and families of color. The report offers background information on children of color who receive child welfare services, highlighting the high rates of disproportionally and disparate treatment. It also outlines some of the many overlapping factors and systemic barriers that create challenges to achieving the well-being of children and families of color, as well as suggestions for potential strategies for policy and funding.

Suggestions include the collection of nuanced data to build strategies that can lower disproportionality rates and occurrences of disparity, supporting families with appropriate services and resources, ensuring implementation of policy that is supportive of family well-being, and ensuring the well-being of American Indian / Alaska Native children. Policy and funding opportunities can also influence system operations, including leveraging State funding opportunities, maximizing Federal funds, and partnering with foundations. States can help achieve their goals by applying for Federal waivers, investing in programs that support long-term well-being of both children and families, and creating flexible funding streams to support cross-system collaboration, among other things.

Other strategies suggested include cross-system collaboration, ensuring equitable reception of services through legislation and training, and focusing on treating the underlying factors and families as a whole. The report includes examples of successful partnerships between States and foundations in implementing policies and strategies to help ensure better outcomes.

Achieving Racial Equity: Child Welfare Policy Strategies to Improve Outcomes for Children of Color is available on the CSSP website at (12 MB).