Research in child welfare: The difference made by race-blind child welfare decisions

Research in child welfare: The difference made by race-blind child welfare decisions

[Race-blind removal]  is a new strategy created by the director of child welfare in Nassau County, New York. Through partnership with the state’s Office of Children and Family Services, Nassau County was awarded a Disproportionate Minority Representation (DMR) Grant.

Blind removals occur when a committee of child welfare professionals convene to determine if a child will be removed from their family home. What makes it a blind removal is that the caseworker who has already seen the family and conducted an initial assessment of risk will present the facts of the case but never mention demographics or neighborhood. All identifiable information on the case file is removed and the discussion focuses on what has occurred, relevant history, and family capacity and strength. After the presentation of the case, the committee makes a recommendation about removal.

Tracking this process for five years rendered pretty staggering results. In 2010, 55.5 percent of the removals made in Nassau County were of black children. By 2015, after utilizing blind removals, it went down to 29 percent. Just last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) proposed to implement the blind removal strategy statewide.

From The Imprint, in January 2020

This work was one of many ideas funded by an NYS grant for Disproportionate Minority Representation, and was subsequently turned into an in depth case study.

Want to know more about what other groups have learned? Results and analysis of programs supported by Children’s Bureau grants is publicly available on their website.

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