Racialized Perceptions and Child Neglect

Children and Youth Services Review 34 (2012) 1480-1491

12 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2013

See all articles by Sheila Ards

Sheila Ards

University of Minnesota

Samuel Myers

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

Patricia Ray

Minnesota State Senate

Hyeon-Eui Kim

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Kevin Monroe

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Applied Economics

Irma Arteaga

University of Missouri at Columbia - Truman School of Public Affairs

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

This paper models racialized perceptions of child welfare workers and tests the hypothesis that these perceptions contribute to the racial disproportionality in reported and/or substantiated child maltreatment. A method is adopted which captures the salient features of racial stereotypes deriving from visual representations of neglectful situations that meet state definitions of child maltreatment and reportable offenses. Caseworkers are shown pictures of a neglectful situation that randomly varies with respect to whether a child in the picture is black or white or whether there is no child at all pictured. If things that “look black” are more likely to be perceived of by caseworkers as reportable offenses or to meet state definitions of child maltreatment than things that “look white,” then this indicates racialized perceptions. Data are collected from a sample of all caseworkers from every county in Minnesota for 2005.

Linear and logistic fixed effects models are estimated for the responses as to whether the situation in the picture meets the state definition and whether the offense is reportable. Independent variables include: the respondent's age, gender, and race; whether the respondent was born in the Twin Cities, majored in social work, was an intake worker, or worked in Hennepin County. The results show statistically significant impacts of the black baby vignette (compared to no baby or white baby) on the likelihood that respondents agree that the situation depicted in the picture meets the state definition of neglect and is reportable.

Also estimated are the impacts of these racialized beliefs on racial disproportionalities in reported and substantiated child maltreatment rates across counties. There are strong and statistically significant impacts of indices of caseworker racialized beliefs on racial disproporationalities in reported and substantiated maltreatment rates

Keywords: Racial disproportionality, child neglect dispairities, Bias in reporting and substantiating child maltreatment

Suggested Citation

Ards, Sheila and Myers, Samuel and Ray, Patricia and Kim, Hyeon-Eui and Monroe, Kevin and Arteaga, Irma, Racialized Perceptions and Child Neglect (2012). Children and Youth Services Review 34 (2012) 1480-1491. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2365409

Sheila Ards

University of Minnesota ( email )

308 Harvard Street SE
United States

Samuel Myers (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs ( email )

301 19th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Patricia Ray

Minnesota State Senate ( email )

75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606
United States

Hyeon-Eui Kim

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

Kevin Monroe

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Applied Economics ( email )

MN
United States

Irma Arteaga

University of Missouri at Columbia - Truman School of Public Affairs ( email )

900 University Avenue
Columbia, MO 65211-6100
United States

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