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Poverty, social disadvantage, and the black/white placement gap

Author

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  • Wulczyn, Fred
  • Gibbons, Robert
  • Snowden, Lonnie
  • Lery, Bridgette

Abstract

In this paper, we examine whether county-level measures of poverty and social disadvantage are correlated with county-level variation in the black/white foster care placement gap. The black/white placement gap refers to the fact that when the rate of placement into foster care for black children is compared to the rate for white children living in the same area, the black placement rate is almost always higher than the rate for whites. Although differential exposure to poverty is often used to explain why the placement gap is so large, the problem has rarely been studied. Using Poisson event count models, we find that poverty, measured at the county ecological level, is associated with a narrower gap rather than a wider gap. The counterintuitive finding is due to the fact that the relationship between poverty and placement rates depends on race.

Suggested Citation

  • Wulczyn, Fred & Gibbons, Robert & Snowden, Lonnie & Lery, Bridgette, 2013. "Poverty, social disadvantage, and the black/white placement gap," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 65-74.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:35:y:2013:i:1:p:65-74
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.10.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Needell, Barbara & Brookhart, M. Alan & Lee, Seon, 2003. "Black children and foster care placement in California," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(5-6), pages 393-408.
    3. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2004.037705_0 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Harris, Marian S. & Courtney, Mark E., 2003. "The interaction of race, ethnicity, and family structure with respect to the timing of family reunification," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(5-6), pages 409-429.
    5. Courtney, Mark E. & Yin-Ling Irene Wong, 1996. "Comparing the timing of exits from substitute care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(4-5), pages 307-334.
    6. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2009.167353_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Becker, Marion A. & Jordan, Neil & Larsen, Rebecca, 2007. "Predictors of successful permanency planning and length of stay in foster care: The role of race, diagnosis and place of residence," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(8), pages 1102-1113, August.
    8. Lery, Bridgette, 2009. "Neighborhood structure and foster care entry risk: The role of spatial scale in defining neighborhoods," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 331-337, March.
    9. Connell, Christian M. & Katz, Karol H. & Saunders, Leon & Tebes, Jacob Kraemer, 2006. "Leaving foster care--the influence of child and case characteristics on foster care exit rates," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 780-798, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Boyd, Reiko, 2014. "African American disproportionality and disparity in child welfare: Toward a comprehensive conceptual framework," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 15-27.
    2. Woodmass, Kyler & Weisberg, Sanford & Shlomi, Hilla & Rockymore, Maxie & Wells, Susan J., 2017. "Examining the potential for racial disparity in out-of-home placement decisions: A quantitative matched-pair study," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 96-109.
    3. Klein, Sacha & Merritt, Darcey H., 2014. "Neighborhood racial & ethnic diversity as a predictor of child welfare system involvement," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 95-105.
    4. Victor, Bryan G. & Ryan, Joseph P. & Moore, Andrew & Mowbray, Orion & Evangelist, Michael & Perron, Brian E., 2016. "Foster home licensing and risk of reentry to out-of-home care following family reunification," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 112-119.
    5. Bywaters, Paul & Brady, Geraldine & Sparks, Tim & Bos, Elizabeth & Bunting, Lisa & Daniel, Brigid & Featherstone, Brid & Morris, Kate & Scourfield, Jonathan, 2015. "Exploring inequities in child welfare and child protection services: Explaining the ‘inverse intervention law’," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 98-105.
    6. Bywaters, Paul, 2015. "Cumulative jeopardy? A response to Brown and Ward," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 68-73.

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