The HHS National Incidence Study has shown since the early 1980s that children of all races and ethnicities are equally likely to be abused or neglected; however, African American children, and to some extent other minority children, have been significantly more likely to be represented in foster care.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to analyze the factors influencing the proportion of African American children in foster care, the promising strategies implemented by states and localities to address the disproportion, and ways in which federal policies may have influenced African American representation in foster care.

The GAO investigated using a combination of data from a nationwide survey, a review of research and policies, state site visits, analyses of child welfare data, and interviews with researchers, HHS officials, and other experts.

This report details there methodology and findings, strategies thus far, as well as presents recommendations for changes in policies, funding, and support strategies to address disproportionality. 

January 1, 2007

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    Background on the issues of disproportionate presence of African American children in foster care.

  2. 2

    The questions that this report attempts to answer about the underlying causes of the disproportionate representation.

  3. 3

    Objectives, scope and methodology for investigating disproportions in the foster care system.

  4. 4

    Findings from a combination of data sources that indicate causal links and explanations for the disproportionality.

  1. 5

    Policy recommendations and strategies to help address the issue.

Key Takeaway

Key Takeaway

Despite the fact that children of all races are equally as likely to suffer from abuse and neglect, there is a significantly greater proportion of African-American children in foster care than children of other races and ethnicities.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations