Disproportionality Rates for Children of Color in Foster Care Technical Assistance Bulletin

June 7, 2012

By Alicia Summers, PhD, Steve Wood, MS, Jesse Russell, PhD

In May 2011, the NCJFCJ published its first Disproportionality Rates for Children of Color in Foster Care Technical Assistance Bulletin, which identified the disproportionality rates for all state and select Model Courts across the Country. Since that time, the report has gained national attention. The information provided by the report has been used in a number of ways and by a broad spectrum of stakeholders and interested parties. In October of 2011, National Public Radio (NPR) used the report for its series on Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families, citing the report as evidence supporting their position, drawing national attention to the issue, and pointing out behavior in one state in particular. NPR used data from the report to create an interactive map on its website that focused specifically on disproportionality rates of Native youth. The report has also been used in scholarly research. The journal Race and Social Problems recently published a paper on “Race and Child Welfare Policy: State-Level Variations in Disproportionality” that utilizes the disproportionality indexes reported along with other data for statistical analyses.

Due to the ongoing need for dialogue surrounding the most currently available statistics on disproportionality, the NCJFCJ has published an updated Disproportionality Rates for Children of Color in Foster Care Technical Assistance Bulletin. This Bulletin, released May 2012, utilizes 2010 Adoption and Foster Care Reporting System (AFCARS) and 2010 census data to calculate current disproportionality indexes for every state and select Model Courts across the country. The Bulletin also makes comparisons between 2000 and 2010 disproportionality rates to illustrate changes that have occurred in the last decade regarding overrepresentation of children of color in the foster care system.

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