A Three-Pronged Approach to Addressing Racial Disproportionality and Disparities in Child Welfare: The Santa Clara County Example of Leadership, Collaboration and Data-Driven Decisions

September 28, 2012

Disproportionality and disparities in the treatment of children of color has been a growing concern in the child welfare system. Nationally, the primary concern is the overrepresentation of African American children within the child welfare system. In some jurisdictions this is only one piece of the disproportionality concern. San Jose, for example, has both an overrepresentation of African American and an overrepresentation of Hispanic children in the child welfare system. Because San Jose’s child welfare population is unique, they have had to take a unique approach to addressing these concerns. 

This article, recently published in the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, outlines strategies and tools used to begin reducing disproportionality within the child welfare and juvenile dependency court system, using San Jose’s experience as an example. Some of the key approaches to addressing disproportionality include ensuring a systems approach; addressing disproportionality from multiple perspectives; gaining community and system stakeholder buy-in; using a data-driven approach to inform ongoing initiatives and changes in policy and practice; and implementing changes in practice at multiple levels.

Full citation: Soderman Duarte, C., & Summers, A. (2013). A three-pronged approach to addressing racial disproportionality and disparities in child welfare: The Santa Clara County example of leadership, collaboration and data-driven decisions. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 30, 1-19.