Researchers conduct secondary analysis of data collected in community-based focus groups convened to analyze key decision points where racial disproportionality grew wider in child welfare. Analysis confirms findings of other research pointing to referral bias, unclear or problematic policies related to engaging kin, the confounding role of poverty, and racial disparities in the availability of services to ameliorate family problems. A new finding suggested by this work was that lack of professional awareness of the influence of bias is in and of itself a barrier. Authors assert that professionals who believe the court system is fair and rational will not be vigilant in seeking out checks and balances to racial bias and may also be less likely to seek training or consciousness-raising experiences to address their own bias. The research methodology used serves as an example of ways university-based researchers can team with community-based action planning coalitions to stimulate systems change.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/marian-harris/9/