Monday, November 16, 2015

Disproportionality Research

I'm week 12 into my field placement and all I can think about is how important this research is to the children and families we serve. Going into this macro placement, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. Every day I learn sometimes new and I am inspired to do macro work. We distributed a survey that looks at disproportionality on the different levels: individual, system, and society. We have a lot of work to do. The question is how do you discuss race in an organization that is having an issue with disproportionality in child welfare?

 Sometimes, I have to try to think in a way that is neutral to people of color. I honestly, feel for my people of color who are being discriminated against and oppressed. Now I have to come up with recommendations to help address disproportionality.

Recommendations we already have are:
  • A training on implicit bias (normalize it and don’t make it about race)
  • Activities such as self-reflection, icebreakers, and allowing people to to have discussion
  • Training in schools, and police department about disproportionality
  • Have people listen to CPS phone calls
  • Support Groups for workers
  • Find ways to increase client engagement
  • Raise awareness about disproportionality
  • Having more family partnership meetings
  • Partnership with other organizations
  • Interfacing with the community more in a positive light
  • Cultural brokers
  • Cultural competent mandated reporter training
  • Having intensive training for staff
  • In-house trainings

Any suggestions? Let's have a discussion. Please comment below.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Implicit Bias in Child Welfare

In the child welfare system there is an over-representation of minorities. We can look at the history of the United States to understand the racial tension. I was reading an article entitled "Implict Bias in the Child Welfare, Education and Mental Health System" by Michael Harris and Hannah Benton. Recently, I took the Harvard Implicit Bias test and I wasn't too surprise at my test, but I have not taken all of them. You can take the different tests at:

No matter if you are in the helping profession, it is good to be aware of bias because we all have them. The problem is when the implicit bias affects your work and decisions that  are being made about the lives of our children.

Key points in the article:

  • Black families are most severely over-represented about three times the rate of White families. 
  • Various decision makers determine the outcome of a child welfare proceeding; whether a case is referred, screened-in, investigated, and substantiated 
  • The research indicates the various points where decision makers could unconsciously rely on racial biases about minority families when reviewing the facts of a case and that will lead to subjective case review and evaluation. 
  • There is not any evidence to suggest that Black children were abused more severely than White children
  • Socioeconomic status may not be the determining factor in child welfare case outcomes but that race plays a significant role
  • A study showed Black children were twice as likely to be placed in foster care in counties where they were a small proportion of the total population when compared to counties where Black children are comprised the majority 
  • Further research is needed to determinate how to avoid racial bias impacting those discretionary decisions. 
Let's have a discussion on what can we do on each system level to eliminate these racial biases and disproportionality in child welfare?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Fatherless Towns

About a week ago I came across a video with Lisa Ling talking to Steve Harvey about an episode she did looking at the fatherhood program, and the father daughter dance in Richmond, Virginia. As soon as I heard the words Richmond, Virginia. I immediately searched for the episode. This episode left me in tears because most of the fathers sold drugs in order to provide for their families. One of the strengths of the video is  definitely the positive impact the fatherhood program in the jail leaves on the father. They are able to look at life through a different lens.

 I noticed that most of them do not have a GED or a high school diploma. I think it's a perfect example of the New Jim Crow and the school to prison pipeline. So check out the video and leave comments of what you thought of the video.