Equity in Child Welfare Services

Combating Oppression, Striving for Justice

Please share your recommendations for books, articles, reports, etc. related to disparities, race, culture, oppression, cultural competence, social justice, fairness and equity.

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On January 27, 2009, The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform in partnership with Chapin Hall released Racial And Ethnic Disparity and Disproportionality in Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice: A Compendium. Here are a few brief excerpts...

Among the quotes pointing to the need for joint efforts across systems:
Joyce James, Assistant Commissioner for Child and Protective Services, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said it this way: “The data and research that the University did convinced me that this was not an issue that child protective services could tackle alone. And it wasn’t just our problem. It would require a community response as well as a response from other family- and child-serving systems that would be absolutely necessary if we were going to make any progress.” Michael Ware, Director of Family Services for Self Enhancement, Inc., based in Portland, Oregon, said, “If you’re really going to solve this problem, you need to be involved in all these systems…In order to deal with disproportionality, you have to have all systems working.”

Some excerpts regarding prevention:
As Ms. Brown stated, “[The] current child welfare funding structure in which the proportion of federal funds that is dedicated to payments for children in foster care compared with that that is available for prevention or diversion didn’t help localities and states address these issues.” The federal government should increase the funding available for prevention efforts in both child welfare and juvenile justice. This would allow states and localities to “go upstream” and address potential problems through early supports, interventions, and diversion programs, rather than wait until problems result in children being taken from their parents’ care or committing delinquent acts and becoming entangled in the juvenile justice system. As the authors of the Chapin Hall paper state, “The work to improve outcomes for children and youth from overrepresented groups is inseparable from other efforts to foster community and family well-being” (Chapin Hall Center for Children, 2008). This issue was commented upon by a number of symposium attendees as well. For example, Marsha Wickliffe, a consultant for Annie E. Casey’s Family to Family Initiative stated, “We need to get upstream, which means that we have to address the lack of wealth and good jobs, because we can do the best we can do with our systems but until we address people having real jobs that…lift them out of poverty, we’re just…doing the same thing over and over again.”

Download the complete compendium here.

In July 2007, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued the report entitled African American Children in Foster Care: Additional HHS Assistance Needed to Help States Reduce the Proportion in Care (GAO-07-816).

According to the GAO Report, four main factors are thought to influence the proportion of African American children in care:

1.A higher rate of poverty
2.Challenges in accessing support and preventive services
3.Racial bias or cultural misunderstanding
4.Difficulties in finding appropriate permanent homes

Download the GAO report here.
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute published Finding Families for African American Children: The role of race an....
This paper examines the impact of MEPA-IEP on the adoption outcomes of African American children from the child welfare system by addressing the five questions posed by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission at its hearing in September 2007:
1. Has the enactment of MEPA removed barriers to permanency facing children involved in the child welfare system?
2. Has the enactment of MEPA reduced the amount of time minority children spend in foster care or wait to be adopted?
3. How effectively is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services enforcing MEPA/IEPA? What impact has enforcement had on best practices in adoption?
4. What is the impact of DHHS’ enforcement of MEPA-IEP on the efforts of prospective parents to adopt or provide foster care for minority children?
5. Does transracial adoption serve children’s best interest or does it have negative consequences for minority children, families, and communities?

The resulting findings and recommendations contained in this paper significantly advance the ongoing discussion regarding MEPA as it impacts adoption of African American children from foster care.

Download the paper here or see the attached file.
The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, at the University of Minnesota, has posted a Title IV-E Curriculum Module entitled White Privilege and Racism in Child Welfare. Juliana Keen and Lisa Albrecht are the authors of this curriculum, which is geared mainly toward white social workers, particularly those in child welfare. The idea is to provide an overview of the impact of racism and white privilege in social work and child welfare.

The curriculum can be found at: http://www.cehd.umn.edu/ssw/cascw/research/learningModules/WhitePri...

Other Curriculum Modules from the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare include:
The impact of Child Welfare Services on Racial Disparities in Outcomes: Child Welfare Services for African American and Caucasian Children in Four Minnesota Counties and Evidence-Based Practice in Child Welfare in the Context of Cultural Competence.
On October 19, 2010 the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) and the Fresno County Department of Social Services released a report entitled Positive Outcomes for All. This report examines the experiences of African American families and children involved with the child welfare system in Fresno, California. Included in the report is Fresno's action plan in response to recommendations from the CSSP.

Check out the Executive Summary and the full report, Positive Outcomes for All from the CSSP web site.

Supplement: Undoing Racism (TM) Workshops

Developed for Casey Family Programs, Seattle, Washington.

Developed by: Jemmott Rollins Group, Inc., Los Angeles, California, April 2007

This supplement is a tool to:

  • Revisit and refresh the workshop content;
  • Provide tools for supervision, coaching, managing and training others;
  • Offer suggestions for initiating reform efforts in the back-home work setting; and
  • Provide exercises and worksheets to strengthen skills in using the content.

Supplement: Undoing Racism (TM) workshops, developed for Casey Family Programs, Seattle Washington by Jemmott Rollins Group, Inc., Los Angeles, California. April 2007.

This supplement is a tool to:

• Revisit and refresh the workshop content;

• Provide tools for supervision, coaching, managing and training others;

• Offer suggestions for initiating reform efforts in the back-home work setting; and

• Provide exercises and worksheets to strengthen skills in using the content.

Find it at: http://jemmottrollinsgroup.net/images/uploads/Undoing_Racism.pdf

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