Racial Disproportionality in Wisconsin's Child Welfare System.
Bowman, Alison. Hofer, Laura. O'Rourke, Collin. Read, Lindsay.
Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. University of Wisconsin--Madison. Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs.
xi, 53 p.
La Follette School of Public Affairs
University of Wisconsin Madison 1225 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706
This report is the product of a semester-long collaboration between the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin- Madison and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families that examined racial disproportionality in the child welfare system. It reviews theories on why African American and American Indian children are overrepresented in the child welfare system and presents measures of disproportionate representation at several decision points in Wisconsin's child welfare system. The analysis focuses on three points: investigation and out-of-home placement, which contribute to overrepresentation, and substantiation, which does not. A county-level analysis of overrepresentation is also offered. Three jurisdictions working to resolve racial and ethnic disproportionality are highlighted: Ramsey County, Minnesota, that focuses on cultural competency staff training and the use of cultural consultants; the State of Michigan that is increasing family participation in the system to reduce the number of children of color placed in out-of-home care; and Sioux City, Iowa that is addressing the needs of American Indians. It is recommended the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families follow the trajectory of other jurisdictions by exploring promising practices, such as further analysis of child welfare data, the creation of an action committee, and development of an action plan. Policy and practice recommendations are offered that coincide with the promising practice steps. 2 figures, 19 tables, and numerous references.
child welfare services; racial disproportionality; out of home care; cultural competency; african americans; native americans; wisconsin