Explaining the disparity in placement instability among African-American and white children in child welfare: A Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition
African-American children in the child welfare system are at disproportionate risk of adverse experiences including placement instability. This article compares placement instability among African-American and white children in the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being and identifies mechanisms underlying racial disparities using a Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition. The type of initial out-of-home placements contributes significantly to the racial gap in placement instability. However a large amount of racial disparity remains unexplained. Additional factors, not captured by these analyses, apparently explain African-American's increased risk of placement instability. Predictors of placement instability differ between racial groups. Among African-Americans, older age, initial placement in a setting other than kinship care, and having a higher externalizing CBCL score at baseline are associated with greater instability. Among white children, however, only initial placement in a foster care setting predicted placement instability.
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