Share This Article:

Keeping the White Family Together: Racial Disparities in the Out-of-Home Placements of Maltreated Children

Full-Text HTML Download Download as PDF (Size:159KB) PP. 320-328
DOI: 10.4236/aasoci.2013.38041    3,833 Downloads   4,980 Views  

ABSTRACT

The likelihood of being removed from the home following a case of maltreatment is much higher for black youth than for whites. Two explanations exist in the literature. The first, black children experience more serious forms of maltreatment and have fewer resources to remedy the maltreatment situation than do whites. The second, there is an underlying racial bias within the child welfare system. The present study examines 789 dependency cases from child welfare services in a large urban county in the Northwest United States. Using multiple logistic regression models, it examines whether race has an effect on child placement within the child welfare system, and whether the factors influencing placement are the same for white and black youth. Findings illustrate a racial disparity in out-of-home placements supporting both of the competing explanations in the current literature. Overall, the present study finds that two separate processes seem to be at play in the placement decisions of maltreated youth, and concludes with possible explanations for this differential treatment.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Kaufman, A. (2013). Keeping the White Family Together: Racial Disparities in the Out-of-Home Placements of Maltreated Children. Advances in Applied Sociology, 3, 320-328. doi: 10.4236/aasoci.2013.38041.

References

[1] Albonetti, C. A. (1991). An integration of theories to explain judicial discretion. Social Problems, 38, 247-266.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/800532
[2] Barth, R. P. (2009). Preventing child abuse and neglect with parent training: Evidence and opportunities. Future of Children, 19, 95-118.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/foc.0.0031
[3] Barth, R. P., Wildfire, J., & Green, R. L. (2006). Placement into foster care and the interplay of urbanicity, child behavior problems and poverty. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 7, 358-366.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0002-9432.76.3.358
[4] Billingsley, A., & Giovannoni, J. (1972). Children of the storm: Black children and American child welfare. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich.
[5] Bridges, G. S., & Steen, S. (1998). Racial disparities in official assessments of juvenile offenders: Attributional stereotypes as mediating mechanisms. American Sociological Review, 63, 554-570.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2657267
[6] Brown, K. (2008). African American children in foster care: HHS and congressional actions could help reduce proportion in care. Testimony before the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives. United States Government Accountability Office.
[7] Burns, B. J., Phillips, S. D., Wagner, H. R., Barth, R. P., Kolko, D. J., Campbell, Y., & Landsverk, J. (2004). Mental health need and access to mental health services by youths involved with child welfare: A national survey. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 43, 960-970.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/01.chi.0000127590.95585.65
[8] Courtney, M. E., McMurtry, S. L., & Zinn, A. (2004). Housing problems experienced by recipients of child welfare services. Child Welfare, 83, 393-422.
[9] Currie, J., & Widom, C. S. (2010). Long-term consequences of child abuse and neglect on adult economic well being. Child Maltreatment, 15, 111-120.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1077559509355316
[10] DeGue, S., & Widom, C. S. (2009). Does out-of-home placement mediate the relationship between child maltreatment and adult criminality? Child Maltreatment, 14, 344-355.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1077559509332264
[11] Drake, B., Lee, S. M., & Jonson-Reid, M. (2009). Race and child maltreatment reporting: Are blacks overrepresented? Children & Youth Services Review, 31, 309-316.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2008.08.004
[12] Hampton, R. L., & Newberger, E. H. (1985). Child abuse incidence and reporting by hospitals: Significance of severity, class and race. American Journal of Public Health, 75, 56-60.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.75.1.56
[13] Hill, G. D., Harris, A. R., & Miller, J. L. (1985). The etiology of bias: Social heuristics and rational decision making in deviance processing. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 22, 135-162.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0022427885022002003
[14] Hill, R. B. (2004). Institutional racism in child welfare. Race and Society, 7, 17-33.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.racsoc.2004.11.004
[15] Kirk, R. S., & Griffith, D. P. (2008). Impact of intensive family presservation services on disproportionality of out-of-home placement of children of color in one state’s child welfare system. Child Welfare League of America, 87, 87-105.
[16] Knott, T., & Donovan, K. (2010). Disproportionate representation of African-American children in foster care: Secondary analysis of the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, 2005. Children & Youth Services Review, 32, 679-684.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2010.01.003
[17] Lane, W. G., Rubin, D. M., Monteith, R., & Christian, C. W. (2002). Racial differences in the evaluation of pediatric fractures for physical abuse. Journal of the American Medical Association, 288, 16031609. http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.288.13.1603
[18] Lindsey, D. (1994). Factors affecting the foster care placement decision: An analysis of national survey data. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 6, 272-281.
[19] Martin, J. A., Hamilton, B. E., Sutton, P. D., Ventura, S. J., Menacker, F., Kirmeyer, S., & Mathews, M. S. (2009). Births: Final data for 2006. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
[20] Miller, O. A., & Gaston, R. J. (2003). A model of culture-centered child welfare practice. Child Welfare, 82, 235-249.
[21] National Poverty Center, The University of Michigan (2007). Poverty in the United States. http://npc.umich.edu/poverty/
[22] Needell, B., Shaw, T., Magruder, J., & Putnam-Hornstein, E. (2007). Racial disproportionality and disparity in child welfare: The disparity index. The National Child Welfare Data and Technology Conference, Washington, 18-19 July 2007.
[23] Osterling, K. L., D’Andrade, A., & Austin, M. J. (2008). Understanding and addressing racial/ethnic disproportionality in the front end of the child welfare system. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 5, 9-30. http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J394v05n01_02
[24] Phillips, S. D., Burns, B. J., Wagner, H. R., & Barth, R. P. (2004). Parental arrest and children involved with child welfare service agencies. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 74, 174-186.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0002-9432.74.2.174
[25] Pinderhughes, E. E. (1991). The delivery of child welfare services to African American clients. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 61, 599-605. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0079293
[26] Polansky, N. A., Chalmers, M. A., Buttenweiser, E., & Williams, D. P. (1981). Damaged parents: An anatomy of child neglect. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
[27] Rawal, P., Romansky, J., Jenuwine, M., & Lyons, J. S. (2004). Racial differences in the mental health needs and service utilization of youth in the juvenile justice system. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 31, 242-254.
[28] Rivaux, S. L., James, J., Wittenstrom, K., Baumann, D., Sheets, J., Henry, J., & Jeffries, V. (2008). The intersection of race, poverty and risk: Understanding the decision to provide services to clients and to remove children. Child Welfare League of America, 87, 151-168.
[29] Ryan, J. P., Testa, M. F., & Zhai, F. (2008). African American males in foster care and the risk of delinquency: The value of social bonds and permanence. Child Welfare League of America, 87, 115-140.
[30] Sampson, R. J. (1986). Effects of socioeconomic context on official reaction to juvenile delinquency. American Sociological Review, 51, 876-885. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2095373
[31] Sampson, R. J., & Laub, J. (1993). Structural variations in juvenile court processing: Inequality, the underclass, and social control. Law and Society Review, 27, 285-311.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3053938
[32] Schuck, A. M. (2005). Explaining the black-white disparity in maltreatment: Poverty, female-headed families, and urbanization. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 543-551.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2005.00152.x
[33] Sedlack, A. J., & Broadhurt, D. D. (1996). Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Center of Child Abuse and Neglect.
[34] Tonry, M. H. (1995). Malign neglect: Race, crime, and punishment in America. New York: Oxford University Press.
[35] US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families (2009). Child Maltreatment 2007. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.
[36] Widom, C. S., & Maxfield, M. G. (2001). An update on the “cycle of violence”. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
[37] Wulczyn, F. (2009). Epidemiological perspectives on maltreatment prevention. The Future of Children, 19, 39-66.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/foc.0.0029

  
comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2018 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.