Race and Child Welfare
Harvard Law School
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
Richard P. Barth
School of Social Work, University of Maryland
11th Judicial Circuit Court, Juvenile Division, Miami, FL
July 19, 2011
Chapin Hall Issue Brief, June 2011
Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 11-27
This paper, published online by the Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago in June 2011, summarizes what the authors believe can be learned from the evidence presented at a conference co-sponsored by Harvard Law School’s Child Advocacy Program and Chapin Hall on what has generally been termed racial disproportionality in child welfare. The conference was designed to present some of the best available evidence analyzing the high representation of black children in foster care, and exploring policy implications. Some evidence had suggested that black/white maltreatment rates were similar, leading many to conclude that child welfare system bias was responsible. However the evidence presented helped demonstrate that overall, higher rates of black contact with child welfare reflect differences in the underlying incidence of actual maltreatment. The authors conclude that the child welfare field should move on from the focus on bias to pay more attention to the problems facing black families, and the related risks to black children victimized by maltreatment and in need of protection and services.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 6
Keywords: foster care, child welfare, racial disproportionality
Date posted: July 21, 2011 ; Last revised: December 13, 2011
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