Introduction

Please see the Checklist Section for the Disproportionality checklist.

Background

Disproportionality is the over or underrepresentation of a racial or cultural group within a social system at a rate or percentage that is not proportionate to their representation in the general population. Disparity refers to the differences in outcomes and conditions for some groups of people compared to other groups because of unequal treatment or services. By most measures of child well-being, African American and Indigenous children are disproportionally represented in the nation's child welfare system and have worse experiences and outcomes than White children.

This phenomenon has most significantly affected African American children, with national data indicating that African American children represent 33% of children in foster care, although they represent only 15% of children in the general population.[76] This overrepresentation of African American children has been observed in the child welfare system for more than thirty years,[77] yet persists as a national concern.[78]