Children of color, belonging to various cultural, ethnic, and racial communities, are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system and frequently receive disparate and inequitable services. A number of complex factors contribute to disproportional representation in child welfare: the history of child welfare in America and structural/institutional racism, poverty, single-parent homes, substance abuse, labeling bias, and lack of culturally competent child protective service workers. Language barriers between child welfare workers and non-English-speaking clients, and the over-reporting of children of color to child protective services also contribute to disproportionality.
We must acknowledge and address the legacy of racism that continues to negatively impact children and families of color, including many of those who enter the child welfare system. Disproportionality and disparity of outcomes in that system of care must be changed. We must examine the systemic factors impacting children as they enter the child welfare system and then mitigate and eventually eliminate those that result in racial disproportionality and disparity of outcomes.