Racial Disproportionality & Disparate Outcomes
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DMC Resource Center Fifth Annual Conference November 30 – December 1, 2006 PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Racial Disproportionality & Disparate Outcomes in the Child Welfare System... Reflections and Future Possibilities Oronde A. Miller Casey Family Programs. DMC Resource Center Fifth Annual Conference November 30 – December 1, 2006. Holiday Inn Downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Our Personal Story.

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DMC Resource Center Fifth Annual Conference November 30 – December 1, 2006

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Racial Disproportionality & Disparate Outcomesin the Child Welfare System...Reflections and Future PossibilitiesOronde A. MillerCasey Family Programs

DMC Resource Center

Fifth Annual Conference

November 30 – December 1, 2006

Holiday Inn Downtown

Des Moines, Iowa

Our Personal Story

  • Rural Ohio, 1970

  • Ultimatum and coercion

  • Khari Miller

  • Struggle, determination, aloneness, confusion

  • Oronde Miller

  • Foster care

  • Separation

  • Adoption – Part 1

  • Disruption & Emergency placement

  • Adoption – Part 2, 1974


Our Personal Story… Fast Forward

  • Cancer… Hodgkin's Lymphoma, 2000

    • Diagnosis & Treatment

    • Coordinating hospice

    • Assumptions and questions

    • Keeping siblings together

    • Medical records and family history

  • Re-introduction to child welfare

    • National Center on Permanency for African American Children, 2000

    • Teen Mothers Program, 2002

    • Child Welfare League of America, 2003

    • Institute for Family & Child Well-Being, 2004

    • Casey Family Programs, 2005/2006


Public Agency’s Success & Failure


  • “Permanency” for children

  • Commitment to siblings

  • Can we be thankful, reflective and critical simultaneously?


  • Voluntary relinquishment

  • Turned away

  • Guilt, Regret, Powerlessness

    … Further exploration of this notion of long-term spiritual, psychological, economic & sociopolitical impact of child welfare involvement on individuals and communities


Role of Structural Racism

  • Definition of Structural Racism:

    …the complex ways in which historical oppression, culture, ideology, political economy, public policy and institutional practices interact to produce forms of racial sorting that reproduce and reinforce a hierarchy of color that privileges whiteness and marginalizes blackness.

    Definition developed by The Aspen Institute. Retrieved online at:



Casey Family Programs

Role of Structural Racism (cont.)

The Structural Racism lens allows us to see and understand…

  • …the racial legacy of our past

    • What is the historical context?

  • …how racism persists in our national policies, institutional practices, and cultural representations

    • What is the present-day manifestation?

  • …how racism is transmitted and either amplified or mitigated through public, private, and community institutions

    • What is the role of institutions?

  • …how individuals internalize and respond to racialized structures.

    • What is the response of individuals?

      Based on ideas shared in the publication Structural Racism and Community Building; published by The Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change. June 2004. p.12.


Casey Family Programs

Critical Issues Related to Eliminating Racial Disproportionality & Disparate Outcomes

  • Child “Protection” vs. Family Preservation

    • Role of child welfare… punitive action vs. family support

    • Resolving the tension… Is it a choice or a balance?

  • Involvement of Elders, Parents, Youth and Communities

    • Case planning and decision-making process

    • Ongoing systems improvement efforts… practice, policy, legislation

  • Termination of Parental Rights

    • Cultural / ethical / moral legitimacy of a concept

    • Implications for family preservation efforts and permanency considerations

  • Critical Role of Judges

    • “I don’t think it’s my place to second-guess the recommendations of the child welfare professionals… they are the experts and they know what’s best.”


The Work Moving Forward…

  • Organizational Culture and Values

    • Worldview of the agency

    • Assumptions about families and communities

    • Subjective nature of our work?

    • How much support and assistance is enough? Who decides?

  • Child Welfare Practice and Policy

    • Working with families and communities… Practice and policy

    • Internal system improvements... Coordination and policy

    • Alternatives to formal child welfare intervention

    • Nature of support before, during and after formal intervention

  • Multi-Systems Coordination

    • Child welfare; juvenile justice; education; comprehensive health care; etc.

    • Shared worldview and values?


The Work Moving Forward…

  • Starting somewhere

  • Moving forward

  • Consensus is not needed.

  • What can you do by next Tuesday?

  • Did it work?

  • Build the case.

  • Share it with others.


Tenets of Courageous Conversations

  • Speak your truth.

  • Expect and accept non-closure.

  • Experience discomfort.

  • Stay engaged.

    Tenets of Courageous Conversations

    taken from Knowing Who You Are E-Learning

    Casey Family Programs


Courageous Conversations:Important Considerations

  • Understanding the role of a facilitator

  • Understanding how to deal with conflict

  • Creating a safe space for people to address their issues

  • Developing an ability to read dynamics in the room

  • Recognizing conflict and addressing it in a timely fashion

  • Taking care of yourself, the facilitator


We Can All Make a Difference!

  • Birth families can make a difference!

  • Youth in care can make a difference!

  • Foster care alum can make a difference!

  • Our communities can make a difference!

  • Resource families can make a difference!

  • Human service professionals can make a difference!

Are we satisfied?

We can create an equitable & just system of

family and child well-being.

It can happen…

in this country and in our lifetime!

It must begin and continue with us as individuals…

committing to work with one another!

It’s Healing Time!

Contact Information:

Oronde A. Miller

Director, General Systems Improvement

Casey Family Programs

1808 Eye Street, NW – Fifth Floor

Washington, DC 20006

Phone: (202) 728-2015

Email: omiller@casey.org


Casey Family Programs

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