Posted on July 25th, 2009 No comments
At the request of the Michigan DHS, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, designed and implemented a qualitative Race Equity Review to examine the research question: “How does it come about that, after substantiation of child abuse or neglect, African American children are more likely to be removed from their homes?” NPR summarized the study’s findings this way:
Roughly half a million children throughout the U.S. are in foster care. But a recent findings by the Center for the Study of Social Policy shows that African-American youngsters are more likely to be steered into foster care at disproportionate rates than whites, and are often “negatively characterized and labeled” by child welfare workers.
Kristen Weber, co-author of the recent study; Bernadette Blount, of the Child Welfare Organizing Project in New York, and psychologist Toni Heinemen, creator and executive director of A Home Within, discuss how a child’s race can influence his or her chance at finding a loving home.
National data show that African American children and families are disproportionately represented in almost all child protective systems in the United States. Once involved with these systems, African American children are more likely to be removed from their homes, spend longer periods of time in out-of-home care, and often times their families have less access to relevant and helpful social services. According to the report, Michigan fares pretty poorly. For the Michigan study, reviewers spent spent spring and fall of 2007 in Saginaw and Wayne Counties observing. The findings of the report are not surprising for anyone who has practiced in this area and the recommendations are pretty weak. Basically, the report finds that DHS is in need of some racial sensitivity training. There is nothing remarkable about this report, but I figured it is worth reporting.
You can download or view a copy of the report here: A Home Within