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Measuring racial disparities in foster care placement: A case study of Texas

Nicholas E. Kahn and Mary Eschelbach Hansen

Children and Youth Services Review, 2017, vol. 76, issue C, 213-226

Abstract: This paper uses administrative data from fiscal years 2002–2013 from the state of Texas to estimate racial disparities in foster care placement. The mean predicted probability of foster care placement is 2.5 percentage points higher for Black children relative to White children, and there is not a statistically significant difference in the predicted probability of foster care placement between Hispanic children and White children. Results from non-linear Oaxaca-Blinder decompositions show racial disparities in risk factors for child maltreatment do not explain the disparity in foster care placement; rather it is racial disparities in the effects of risk factors that are the main contributors. Discerning the respective roles of racial disparities in maltreatment risk factors as compared to racially biased decision-making can help to inform solutions to racial disparities in foster care entry. This research can provide guidance as to what extent resources should be focused on alleviating poverty versus training child welfare workers to recognize and eliminate decision-making bias; of course these ought to be complementary undertakings.

Keywords: Foster care; Racial disparities; Poverty; Nonlinear decompositions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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