Racial Disparity in Foster Care Admissions

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Chapin Hall Center for Children

Approximately 37 percent of children in foster care are African-American, despite the fact that African-American children make up only 15 percent of the nation’s child population. This study examines entry rate disparities at the county level, using data on children placed in foster care between 2000 and 2005 in 1,034 counties that contribute to the Multistate Foster Care Data Archive. Patterns in the data suggest that racial disparity is a function of risks specific to age and place, particularly for African-American infants.

Racial disparity generally decreased over time because the placement rate for white children increased with age, while the rate for black children declined. The disparity increased again, however, as children entered their teens. In addition, disparities tended to be lower in counties with higher percentages of African-American residents, children in poverty, female-headed households and residents with less than a high school education. Free with registration. 32 pages. (773) 256-5213, http://www.chapinhall.org/content_director.aspx?arid=1463&afid=399&dt=1.