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


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.

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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.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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