Race Matters: Unequal Opportunity within the Child Welfare System

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

January 1, 2006

Summary

In 2006, kids of color populated the child welfare system at a much higher rate than their white counterparts.  What wasn’t so obvious was unintended racial bias being part of the reason. Racial equity is not easy to attain if unintended bias is not addressed. This fact sheet brings an awareness to the inequity in the U.S. child welfare system, shows the consequences of unintended actions and presents tools and strategies to mitigate racial inequities.  This brief is part of a comprehensive Race Matters toolkit. For more information, visit the Race Matters Institute

Key Takeaway

contributing factors to racial inequities in the child welfare system

Children of color enter foster care at higher rates, even when the families have the same characteristics as comparable white families. Cultural incompetence and racial bias becomes a more significant factor when combined with the vague definition of "neglect" and the broad discretion allowed child protective service workers in the interpretation of neglect.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations