Racial Discrimination in Child Welfare

Child abuse is a problem that can occur in any ethnic or economic demographic.

So why, nationally, do we see African-American children subjected to child welfare investigations at a rate 1.5 times their proportion in the general population? (African-American children make up about 14% of the total U.S. child population, but 21% of the maltreatment population.)

And why is this disproportionality even higher for Native American children?

Many, including a report of the Government Accountability Office, attribute this phenomenon to racial bias: the system is set up to expect and find abuse among minority families where other families might receive more latitude.

From a legal standpoint, the problem might be framed thus: if the System has enough free rein to apply racial bias in making decision that can adversely affect children, then the System has too much free rein. On the other hand, if the System must respect the proper role of innocent parents in the lives of their own children, even when investigators might disagree with a fit parent’s reasonable decisions, then there will be no room for racial bias to be a factor.

The solution: respect the rights of all fit parents, regardless of ethnicity or skin color (or any other factor).

To this end, we work at the grassroots level to pass laws that preserve and respect the right of fit parents to make the best decisions for their own children, including decisions that might grant their child a reasonable level of independence for their age.

Together we are protecting minority children by empowering all parents, including theirs. Because family unity is not a privilege for some; it’s a fundamental right for all.