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Addressing Racial Disparities in Child Protection. Minnesota’s Response Thursday, April 21, 2005 Maxie Rockymore, John Edmonds, Dr. Susan Wells. History:. State supervised - County administered

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Addressing racial disparities in child protection

Addressing Racial Disparities in Child Protection

Minnesota’s Response

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Maxie Rockymore, John Edmonds,

Dr. Susan Wells


  • State supervised - County administered

  • Demographics/statistics: In 2000 the African American community says there is something amiss! As a percentage of the general population, African American children are five times more likely to be in out- of- home care. African American families are more likely to be reported for neglect (80% for African Americans vs. 64 % Caucasian ) (DHS Data 2000)

  • The 2001 State Legislature steps in and gives the Minnesota Department of Human Services a mandate, to study the problem (why African American children are disproportionately represented in out of home placements), and produce a report with recommendations.

  • The African American Disparities Advisory Committee was convened in 2001: Dr. Bill Allen and Erin Sullivan Sutton, co-chairs,


  • Community: African American leaders, folks, clients, COMACC

  • Legislators: Rep. Neva Walker, Senator Linda Berglin

  • State: Minnesota Department of Human Services, Ombudsman for African American Families, State Council on Black Minnesotans

  • Counties: Anoka, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey (89% of the African American children reported and accepted for assessment in 2000 were from these four counties)

  • Advocacy groups: MN Children’s Defense Fund

  • Academia: University of Minnesota, Augsburg College


  • Improving county Practices

  • Monitoring and evaluating county practices to eliminate disparities

  • Emphasizing culturally competent training and innovative service strategies

  • Working on partnerships with the African American community and

  • Advocating for supports needed by African American families to ensure children are growing up in safe and nurturing homes, and families are thriving.

Three studies
Three Studies:

  • Dr. Susan Wells, University of Minnesota

  • Study of Outcomes for African American Children in Minnesota’s Child Protection System (April 2002) (examines key decision making points)

  • African American Case Review Study (Report will be released in May) (examines case practice by recorded case documentation) Dr. Susan Wells

  • Dr. Meyers study on Neglect ( in progress)

  • Administrative Data review by St. Olaf University College students


  • Vision: A shared vision!

  • Value of your agency: Reducing Disparity

  • Organizational will


  • Staff (line and managerial)

  • Resources

  • Time

  • Data System (SACWIS)

  • Stakeholders (community, courts, judges, law enforcement


  • Face disparities

  • System inadequacies

  • Communications -thornbirds/adversaries

  • Committee (Community co-chair—State Administration co-chair)

  • Ready for system change


  • Integrity of agency

  • Inclusivity: families, communities—diversity in your community/state

  • Culture of your organization:

    • How do you work together?

    • How do you communicate?

    • Who needs to hear the message that you will begin to address disparities?


  • (What does change and better outcomes for African American families look like?)

  • Creative solutions: Olmsted County,

    John Edmonds, MSW, Supervisor

  • Partnership Plan

  • Project Hope

Outcomes and results
Outcomes and results:

  • Child welfare reform strategies: Family Group Decision Making, Alternative Response, Concurrent Permanency Planning.

  • Hennepin County- Actively working to reduce out of home placements. Hennepin county has 600 licensed foster homes of which 35% are licensed relative homes. The majority of these 600 homes are African American.

  • Anoka County-All staff is required to attend cultural diversity training. Anoka County has begun to actively identify and place with kin. Created a Permanency Unit in 2003- focuses on culturally appropriate placements, monitoring and evaluation.

  • Ramsey County- Multi year project to reduce racial disparities in the child protection system and in out –of- home placements.

In memory of jacqui smith
-In memory of Jacqui Smith-