Minority Disproportionality

The Issue: Minority Disproportionality
Excerpt from HeartBeat Volume 18, No. 3,
“A Closer Look: The
Overrepresentation of Minorities in Ohio's Child Welfare System”

Minority disproportionality in the child welfare system is a nationwide problem that affects Native Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans, and Latino Americans in Ohio as well.  

Most current research focuses on the overrepresentation of African Americans. In Ohio, African Americans make up 11.5% of the general population, but represent 42% of children in temporary custody and 52% in permanent custody. The national average for African American children in foster care is 35%. African American children stay in custody longer and are adopted at a lower rate than Caucasian children. The statistics are staggering. Researchers, as well as many in the field, are concerned.

Author and Northwestern University professor Dorothy Roberts visited Cuyahoga County July 21 and 22 to discuss minority disproportionality in the child welfare system, which is the topic of her book, Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare. Child welfare leaders and staff from the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services and agencies across the state joined child advocates, judges and community collaborative leaders to listen to Roberts' presentation on the effects of disproportionality and discuss how to impact the problem in Cuyahoga County and across the state. Department of Children and Family Services leadership and staff are working with community collaboratives and partners to develop next steps to comprehensively address this problem. Contact Jerry Blake at gblake@cuyahogacounty.us  for more information Roberts visit or disproportionality activities in Cuyahoga County .

  1. The Color of Child Welfare 
  2. How Other States Are Addressing Minority Disproportionality in Child Welfare 

  3. A Closer Look: The Minorities in Ohio's Child Welfare System

  4. Links to resources from other states

  5. Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial and Next Steps