Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Examining racial disproportionality in child protective services case decisions

Contents:

Author Info

  • Font, Sarah A.
  • Berger, Lawrence M.
  • Slack, Kristen S.
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Using a national sample of 1461 child protective services (CPS) investigations in the United States, we examine differences between black and white families with regard to caseworker ratings of risk and harm to the child, as well as the probability that a case is substantiated for maltreatment. We employ difference-in-difference methods to identify whether gaps in outcomes for black and white families are equivalent when black and white CPS workers conduct the investigation, and Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition methods to identify the portion of the black–white difference in outcomes that is attributable to differences in case characteristics (risk factors) versus differences in associations between these characteristics and the outcomes by race (differential treatment). We find no differences in outcomes by child race after adjusting for case characteristics. At the same time, we find that, relative to white caseworkers, black caseworkers are more likely to rate black children at subjectively higher risk of harm than white children and are also more likely to substantiate black families for maltreatment. The decomposition results suggest that—even after accounting for caseworker race—differences in outcomes for black and white children are primarily explained by differences in family and case circumstances rather than differential treatment. Thus, our analyses suggest that interventions addressing maltreatment-related risk factors that disproportionately affect black families may have greater utility for reducing racial disparities in CPS involvement than current emphases on cultural competence training.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740912002861
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Children and Youth Services Review.

    Volume (Year): 34 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 11 ()
    Pages: 2188-2200

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:34:y:2012:i:11:p:2188-2200

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/childyouth

    Related research

    Keywords: Child protective services; Race; Disproportionality; Case decision-making;

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Perry, Robin & Limb, Gordon E., 2004. "Ethnic/racial matching of clients and social workers in public child welfare," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(10), pages 965-979, October.
    2. Arad-Davidzon, Bilhah & Benbenishty, Rami, 2008. "The role of workers' attitudes and parent and child wishes in child protection workers' assessments and recommendation regarding removal and reunification," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 107-121, January.
    3. Kriz, Katrin & Skivenes, Marit, 2011. "How child welfare workers view their work with racial and ethnic minority families: The United States in contrast to England and Norway," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1866-1874, October.
    4. Elder, Todd E. & Goddeeris, John H. & Haider, Steven J., 2010. "Unexplained gaps and Oaxaca-Blinder decompositions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 284-290, January.
    5. Lu, Yuhwa Eva & Landsverk, John & Ellis-Macleod, Elissa & Newton, Rae & Ganger, William & Johnson, Ivory, 2004. "Race, ethnicity, and case outcomes in child protective services," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 447-461, May.
    6. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    7. Putnam-Hornstein, Emily & Needell, Barbara, 2011. "Predictors of child protective service contact between birth and age five: An examination of California's 2002 birth cohort," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(11), pages 2400-2407.
    8. Kim, Hansung & Chenot, David & Ji, Juye, 2011. "Racial/ethnic disparity in child welfare systems: A longitudinal study utilizing the Disparity Index (DI)," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1234-1244, July.
    9. Fluke, John D. & Yuan, Ying-Ying T. & Hedderson, John & Curtis, Patrick A., 2003. "Disproportionate representation of race and ethnicity in child maltreatment: investigation and victimization," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(5-6), pages 359-373.
    10. Hines, Alice M & Lemon, Kathy & Wyatt, Paige & Merdinger, Joan, 2004. "Factors related to the disproportionate involvement of children of color in the child welfare system: a review and emerging themes," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 507-527, June.
    11. Ben Jann, 2008. "The Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition for linear regression models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(4), pages 453-479, December.
    12. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
    13. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    14. Putnam-Hornstein, Emily & Needell, Barbara, 2011. "Predictors of child protective service contact between birth and age five: An examination of California's 2002 birth cohort," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1337-1344, August.
    15. Dettlaff, Alan J. & Rivaux, Stephanie L. & Baumann, Donald J. & Fluke, John D. & Rycraft, Joan R. & James, Joyce, 2011. "Disentangling substantiation: The influence of race, income, and risk on the substantiation decision in child welfare," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1630-1637, September.
    16. Mathia Sinning & Markus Hahn & Thomas K. Bauer, 2008. "The Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition for nonlinear regression models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(4), pages 480-492, December.
    17. Ryan, Joseph P. & Garnier, Philip & Zyphur, Michael & Zhai, Fuhua, 2006. "Investigating the effects of caseworker characteristics in child welfare," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(9), pages 993-1006, September.
    18. Drake, Brett & Lee, Sang Moo & Jonson-Reid, Melissa, 2009. "Race and child maltreatment reporting: Are Blacks overrepresented?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 309-316, March.
    19. Ards, Sheila D. & Myers, Samuel L. & Malkis Erin, Allan & Zhou, Li, 2003. "Racial disproportionality in reported and substained child abuse and nelgect: an examination of systematic bias," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(5-6), pages 375-392.
    20. David Neumark, 1987. "Employers' discriminatory behavior and the estimation of wage discrimination," Special Studies Papers 227, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    21. Harris, Marian S. & Hackett, Wanda, 2008. "Decision points in child welfare: An action research model to address disproportionality," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 199-215, February.
    22. Jonson-Reid, Melissa & Drake, Brett & Kohl, Patricia L., 2009. "Is the overrepresentation of the poor in child welfare caseloads due to bias or need?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 422-427, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Leung, Patrick & Cheung, Monit, 2013. "Factor analyzing the “ASK” cultural competency self-assessment scale for child protective services," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 1993-2002.
    2. Marshall, Jane Marie & Haight, Wendy L., 2014. "Understanding racial disproportionality affecting African American Youth who cross over from the child welfare to the juvenile justice system: Communication, power, race and social class," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 82-90.
    3. Sinha, Vandna & Ellenbogen, Stephen & Trocmé, Nico, 2013. "Substantiating neglect of first nations and non-aboriginal children," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 2080-2090.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:34:y:2012:i:11:p:2188-2200. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.