The Racial Geography of the Child Welfare System : Community Impact and Response. Final Conference Report.
Roberts, Dorothy. Hill, Leah. Pitchal, Erik.
Fordham Interdisciplinary Center for Family and Child Advocacy. Racial Geography Conference (2006 : Fordham University)
Published: Spring 2006
Fordham University Interdisciplinary Center for Family and Child Advocacy
33 W. 60th Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10023
Sponsoring Organization: Bacon-Kilkenny Fund at Fordham Law School.
This report summarizes the proceedings and presentations made at the Racial Geography of the Child Welfare System: Community Impact and Response conference held in the spring of 2006. The conference explored the disproportionality of minority children and families involved in the child welfare system and the impact on communities of a concentration of child welfare involvement. The morning session consisted of two plenary panels, followed by a keynote speech delivered by Professor Gerald Lopez. In the afternoon, participants met in small working groups led by a facilitator. This report provides an edited transcript of the conference proceedings and describes potential research projects, legal strategies, and community initiatives proposed during the working group sessions. The first panel examined the many ways in which disproportionality might impact community life. The panel began with the story of one family's experience of feeling invaded and discusses how the concentration of child welfare authorities throughout communities of color might impact how family members relate to each other and others in their communities. Other panelists provided insight from experiences with the criminal justice system and the environmental justice system to explore similar patterns of impact resulting from disproportionality. There was also a presentation focused on the experience of foster parents and caretakers within communities where over-representation is prominent. The second panel focused on the response of communities with first-hand experience of the racial geography phenomenon. The presentations further acknowledged the impact of racial geography and explored promising possibilities for making positive change. In the afternoon, participants were divided into five working groups that focused on: legal strategies, research, the education system, legislation/policy, and community based social services. Summaries are provided of the findings of the groups and their recommendations for addressing the racial geography of the child welfare system.
racial disproportionality; foster care; length of stay; african americans; child welfare; child protective services; communities; measures