The Society for Social Work and Research

2013 Annual Conference

January 16-20, 2013 I Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina I San Diego, CA

Out-of-Home Placement Admissions for Black and Aboriginal Children Investigated by Child Protection Services in Québec

Friday, January 18, 2013: 11:00 AM
Nautilus 5 (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
* noted as presenting author
Tonino Esposito, MSW, PhD (C), Research coordinator, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Background and Purpose: Many studies in the US report a significant disproportional representation of African American and Native American children placed in out-of-home care. In Canada, there is a history of reported disproportionality of Aboriginal children admitted in out-of-home care following a maltreatment investigation. This study explores disproportionality of Aboriginal and Black children admitted to out-of-home care in Québec. It makes use, for the first time of the largest administrative child welfare data set in Canada.

 Methods: Two different data sources were merged to create a provincial dataset used for this study. The first data source was anonymized longitudinal administrative child protection data for the entire province of Québec. The second data source consisted of the 2006 Canadian Census data for the province of Québec. This data source was used to create a proxy family socioeconomic disadvantage index. These datasets were merged and the final dataset includes 127,181children investigated for maltreatment for the first time between April 1st, 2002 and March 31st, 2010. The analysis includes: (1) between ethno-racial group chi-square comparisons of reasons for maltreatment investigation, source of referral and family socioeconomic disadvantages; and (2) Cox proportional hazard regression on the timing and risk of out-of-home placement. 

 Results: Although Aboriginal children make-up 3.7% of all investigated children, they represent 4.6% of all children placed. Similarly, Black children represent 3.1% of all investigated children but 4.2% of children placed. When separating all placed children into two age-specific groups, 0-9 and 10-17 year olds, we notice an age-specific difference in the proportion of Aboriginal and Black children placed compared to other ethno-racial heritage groups. Of the children placed aged 0-9, 6.6% were Aboriginal, and 4.7% were Black. For children placed aged 10 to 17 years old, 3.1% were Aboriginal, and 3.8% were Black. This study also uncovered that among all children investigated for maltreatment in the last decade for the entire province of Quebec, 40.3%of children’s ethno-racial heritage were unidentified in the administrative child protection data and compared to other ethno-racial groups, unidentified children represent those with the least risk of placement.

Conclusions and Implications: The findings emphasize the need for administrative data collection efforts to collect systematic information about ethno-racial identity.  They speak to the implications of missing ethno-racial data for the ability to accurately measure ethno-racial disproportionality that exists in child protection systems and to assess the implementation of legislative provisions, standards, and programs which are intended to address the needs of ethno-racial minority children and families.