The intersection of race, poverty and risk: understanding the decision to provide services to clients and to remove children

Child Welfare. 2008;87(2):151-68.


Studies have found that certain racial groups, particularly the children of African American families, are placed in foster care at a higher rate than children of other races. These families are also sometimes found to be afforded fewer services that might prevent these removals, relative to families of other races. It is unclear why this is so. Poverty has been suspected, and sometimes found, to be the primary cause of the disparity. Lacking in some of these analyses, however, was how risk of future abuse/neglect to the child entered into the decisions and particularly, how assumptions about race, poverty, and risk are factored into the decision-making process. It is important to understand this process if we are to find a way to correct it. The current study addresses this process.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Black or African American / psychology
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / ethnology*
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Child Welfare / ethnology*
  • Child Welfare / statistics & numerical data
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Foster Home Care / psychology*
  • Foster Home Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Poverty / ethnology*
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data
  • Prejudice
  • Risk Assessment
  • Texas
  • White People / psychology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*