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Social Service Availability & Proximity and the Over-Representation of Minority Children in Child Welfare

Author: EDWINA L. DORCH, JAKE BATHMAN, DAVID FOSTER, LAURA INGELS, CHONGMYOUNG LEE, CLAUDIA MIRAMONTES, and JO YOUNGBLOOD
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 33 No. 3

The goal of this study was to assess whether child welfare services were available and proximal in identified, predominantly Black and Hispanic ZIP code areas of three southern cities. GIS mapping of services contained in a state 2-1-1 community services data base revealed that there were no treatment services and/or no public transportation and/or lengthy public (bus) transportation times in 50% of the identified areas of one city and in almost 25% of the three cities combined. The authors suggest service availability and proximity should increase the likelihood of parent enrollment, attendance and completion which should increase parent dependency court compliance rates. Further, they suggest that court compliance rates should increase the rate of return of Black children to their parents and thereby reduce child welfare caseloads. Given, the logic of their argument, the authors go on to recommend that child welfare administrators annually perform GIS analyses of State 2-1-1 community services data bases to keep abreast of child welfare service availability and proximity. Additionally, they offer a number of recommendations for how to increase service availability and proximity in predominantly Black and Hispanic urban areas.

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