Factors That Contribute to the Disproportionate Number of Detained African-American Children

Children of color, particularly those of African-American descent, are overrepresented in the child welfare system relative to the proportion of the population they make up (Donovan & Knott, 2010). This disproportional representation is detrimental to children of color, as a significant number of them are removed from their families of origin and remain in the foster care system at longer lengths than their non-African-American counterparts (Rivaux et al., 2008). This capstone research project conducted a secondary analysis utilizing baseline data collected by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). This project specifically examined all Emergency Response referrals received by the Palmdale DCFS office from October 1, 2017 to November 30, 2017. The referrals were categorized by race and by specific variables such as the type of reporter and removal status of the children. This capstone project conducted a quantitative study that examined whether there was a relationship between the reporting source of maltreatment and the removal of African-American children in comparison to children of other races. Results from this preliminary analysis showed that there were no significant findings in the relationships examined despite evidence supporting the higher rates of African-Americans being reported for maltreatment.