Racial Disproportionality, Race Disparity, and Other Race-Related Findings in Published Works Derived from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being
Dunbar, K. and Barth,
R.P. Racial Dis-
proportionality, Race
Disparity, and Other
Race-Related Findings in
Published Works Derived
from the National Survey
of Child and Adolescent
Well-Being (2007).
Washington, D.C.: Casey-
CSSP Alliance for Racial
Equity in Child Welfare.
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Promising Practices and Lessons Learned
by Keesha Dunbar, MBA, MSW and Richard P. Barth, Ph.D.
December 2007

This paper was published in January 2008 by the Casey-CSSP Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare. It draws on studies of data gathered during the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW).

The paper examines child welfare in the context of race and ethnicity. Topics include whether there are racial differences in some of these areas of child welfare services:

  • Early childhood development
  • Early intervention services
  • Mental health
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Parental arrests
  • Domestic violence
  • Reunification

Summary of findings
Even when child need was similar, African American families used fewer services. Other  findings suggest the presence of race and ethnicity effects related to:

  • African American women served in child welfare reported much higher rates of domestic violence
  • Infants and adolescents were the two age groups with the greatest level of reunification rate differences by race
  • Parents of African American children placed in out-of-home care were more likely to have experienced a recent arrest

Other differences related to race and ethnicity are not as consistent. The paper calls for more research into how unfair services to African American children and families arise.