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Michigan’s Child Welfare System. Why is Overrepresentation a Critical Issue?. Overrepresentation: General label for both racial disproportionality and racial disparity.

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Michigan s child welfare system

Michigan’s Child Welfare System

Why is Overrepresentation

a Critical Issue?


Overrepresentation general label for both racial disproportionality and racial disparity
Overrepresentation: General label for both racial disproportionality and racial disparity

  • Racial Disproportionality - A situation where racial minorities occur in the child welfare population at rates higher than the occurrence in general population

  • Racial Disparity - Occurs when the rate of disproportionality of one racial group, (e.g., African Americans) exceeds that of a comparison group (e.g., White Americans)


High stakes
High Stakes

  • 600,000 Children in Foster Care

  • Reason for Placement

    • Neglect 65%

    • Abuse 25%

  • Almost 50% of Children in care are 11 Years or older

  • Native American Youth have the highest suicide rate of any group of youth in the U.S.



The picture for older youth
The Picture for Older Youth median number of placements is

  • Generally teens who ‘age out’ of care entered as teens

    OUTCOMES(?)

  • 50% graduated from High School or have a GED (85% of all youth between 18 - 24 have graduated/GED)

  • 25% endured a period of homelessness

  • 70% have not maintained a job for a year

  • One in four Males and one in ten Females have spent time in jail


Wayne county s picture
Wayne County’s Picture median number of placements is

  • 2,310 youth in care are 14 and older

    • 13 y/o 503

    • 14 y/o 548

    • 15 y/o 478

    • 16 y/o 466

    • 17 y/o 397

    • 18 y/o 264

    • 19 and older 157


Wayne county s picture1
Wayne County’s Picture median number of placements is

  • 1,971 of the older youth in care are African American

  • 4 American Indian/Alaskan Native

  • 307 White

  • 45 have Hispanic ethnicity

  • 1,200 Female

  • 1,090 Male


Wayne county s picture2
Wayne County’s Picture median number of placements is

429 Currently in a Foster Home

381 in a Private Child Placing Institution

74 in a Public Shelter

591 in Relative Home


Michigan s picture
Michigan’s Picture median number of placements is


What are the contributing issues cssp survey
What are the Contributing Issues median number of placements is (CSSP Survey)

  • Confusion between poverty and neglect

  • System inability to educate public & partners on abuse, neglect in a context of cultural issues

  • Substance use & mental health services and housing

  • Not enough prevention and family preservation in neighborhoods


Contributing issues continued
Contributing Issues continued median number of placements is

  • Lack of well-trained Gatekeepers -

    • What assumptions/biases are operative? (color “blindness’ leads to to biased ‘lens’ and treatment)

  • Culturally competent staff

    • Training

    • Supervision

  • Historic lack of trust of the system on the part of minority communities

  • Cultural biases at key decision points

  • State management disproportionally white


Contributing issues continued1
Contributing Issues continued median number of placements is

  • Resources

  • Individual perception, denial of racism within system

  • Defensiveness about issues makes it difficult to discuss

  • Lack of data about effectiveness of all services, including foster care

  • Not giving parents and youth a voice

  • No accountability for system outcomes

  • Connection between neglect, foster care, juvenile justice


Where do we go from here

Where Do We Go From Here? median number of placements is


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