Most families that come to the attention of the child protection system already have experienced disparate treatment, resources, and service access as a result of longstanding institutionalized racism and classicism in other systems. Their experience with child protection often is no different. Racial disparities within the child protection system are attributed to deeply embedded discrimination and biases that have been created and sustained over time, and therefore will not disappear with a single practice or policy change.
Rather than focusing efforts exclusively on reducing inequities once they exist, the priority should be on identifying and rectifying the underlying root causes. An anti-racist framework should be used to dismantle and abolish the policies, programs, and practices that are perpetuating the inequities, thereby more effectively supporting families, children, and communities of color. This will require testing and implementing a variety of strategies at multiple levels — within child protection agencies and in partnership with other systems and local communities. Only then can racial equity and justice be achieved.
How can child welfare systems apply the principles of the Indian Child Welfare Act as the “gold standard” for all children?
Please explore the related resources below and at Questions from the field to learn more about racial equity in the child protection system.