Session: Pursuing Justice with Collaborative Institutional Research: Examining the Collective Process of Addressing Racial Disparity in Child Welfare Research (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

174 Pursuing Justice with Collaborative Institutional Research: Examining the Collective Process of Addressing Racial Disparity in Child Welfare Research

Thursday, January 21, 2021: 5:00 PM-6:00 PM
Cluster: Race and Ethnicity
Kelechi Wright, MEd, University of Kansas, Becci Akin, PhD, University of Kansas, Weber Kristen, JD, Center for the Study of Social Policy and Sarah McCall, BA, University of Kansas
Nationally the overrepresentation of African American children in foster care has been an enduring issue. As the issue persists Black children in the child welfare system tend to experience unique hardships in comparison to their counterparts. Several scholars have coined this issue of inequality and disproportionality as a racial disparity (Lovato-Hermann, Dellor, Tam, Curry, & Freisthler, 2017). Racial disparities are typically viewed as systemic and institutional. To address the issue, states or government funded organizations have adopted Institutional Analysis (IA) methodologies. IA is a complex and multifaceted research method of assessing the nature of multiple levels of societal structures and systems and using gathered data to understand how these entities operate (Ostrom, 2011). It allows stakeholders to better understand complex issues in various institutions like the child welfare system. Misguided treatment of systemic issues can be harmful to marginalized people groups as well as costly and taxing to society. IA provides a strong foundation and blueprint for a deeper understanding of critical issues like racial disproportionality and disparity; and a better basis for addressing and implementing remedies to such a crucial problem. This roundtable will engage in a discussion highlighting the collaborative practices and experiences of practitioners and researchers in a segment of a federally funded project which involved an IA effort on racial disparity in child welfare. This study was initiated to address the racial disproportionalities in a specific region of an urban community of a Midwestern state, aiming to provide more just and equitable services to families in care. Presenters comprise four members of the IA advisory team representing key areas of the research process. IA is an extremely collaborative process within all institutions (Ostrom, 2011). Most specifically, in child welfare, it involves qualitative inquiry of various forms from major stake holders from community leaders to parents, advocates, children, lawyers, caseworkers and judges, etc. The first roundtable member will discuss the process of navigating these key individuals to work together for a common research goal. The second member will discuss the process of collecting, assessing and interpreting the unique qualitative data generated from this process. Sustaining change is difficult and doing this from an IA perspective requires transparency in the dissemination of the data. The third member will highlight key points in how this is done. The fourth member will review key documents that were generated like the An "Anti-Racism Collaboration Covenant" which was created to unify the advisory group in a common yet complex goal of dismantling racial disproportionality in child welfare efforts. Discussion within the roundtable will surround how to address racial disparities in differing institutions and strengths and challenges of the project efforts in doing so.

See more of: Roundtables