The American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law is leading a new initiative to address over-reporting by medical professionals of Black and Indigenous children to the child welfare system.
An ABA Center on Children and the Law initiative aims to mitigate bias and racism in the child welfare system through multilayered intervention.
Research shows that:
• By the age of 18, over 50% of Black and Indigenous children will be the subject of a Child Protective Services investigation.
• Injuries experienced by Black children are nine times more likely to be reported to CPS as potential child abuse than injuries experienced by white children despite evidence showing child abuse and neglect occur at equal rates across races.
• Race-based over-reporting leads to a disproportionate number of Black and Indigenous children entering foster care.
• Race-based over-reporting by health care professionals results in distrust of the medical profession and failure to seek needed care among minority populations.
With funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the initiative aims to mitigate bias and racism in over-reporting by health care professionals through a layered, multisystem intervention. This includes a medical standard of care supplement addressing bias and racism; medical school strategies addressing bias and racism; and tools to lessen the imbalance of power when child welfare and judicial professionals assess biased reports from medical professionals.
The initiative is expected to last five years. A March kickoff meeting brought together a National Advisory Board including legal, health care, child welfare, public health and medical school leaders as well as experts in race equity, evaluation, lived experience and authentic community engagement.
“This initiative’s potentially transformative work reflects the need for interdisciplinary approaches to complex problems that unnecessarily entangle families in the court system,” said ABA President Deborah Enix-Ross.
For additional information on the ABA Center on Children and the Law, visit www.americanbar.org/groups/public_interest/child_law