Abstract: Anti-Black Racism and the Racial Profiling of Crossover Youth (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

Anti-Black Racism and the Racial Profiling of Crossover Youth

Thursday, January 12, 2023
Ahwatukee B, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Alicia Boatswain-Kyte, PhD, Assistant Professor, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Sonia Helie, PhD, Chercheure, Institut universitaire Jeunes en difficulte, Montreal, QC, Canada
Dejean Barbara, Reasearch Assistant, McGill University, QC
Background: Anti-Black racism is a specific form of racism subjected to Black people that is rooted in slavery and the longstanding unequal status conferred to Black people. It’s connection to child welfare has largely been lacking because of the centrality of whiteness and ensuing philosophy of “child saving” and “rescuing of children”. While decades of research have documented Black children’s disproportionate representation and disparity throughout the child welfare system, these studies have done little to address inequities.

Methods: Using anti-Black racism as its theoretical framework, this prospective-longitudinal cohort study design uses multilevel Cox proportional hazard regression to investigate the association between child welfare and juvenile justice involvement (i.e. crossover youth status). The cohort is based on child welfare records of 7592 children who were first referred for ongoing child welfare services between January 1st 2007 and December 31st 2017. Each child’s file was observed for juvenile justice involvement up to December 31st 2018 with observation periods ranging from 1 – 11 years. A total of 972 youth received services under juvenile justice.

Results: Black children were more likely than White children (RR =1.81; p < .001) to transition into the juvenile justice system. Risk factors such as age at the initial child welfare investigation, gender, language, and race significantly predicated transition into the juvenile justice system. Source of the child welfare report, sub-type of maltreatment (child behavioural problems), length of service involvement, and factors surrounding out-of-home placement also increased the risk of juvenile justice involvement. Immigration status (being born outside of Canada) decreased the risk of juvenile justice involvement. Racial disparity in service outcomes for youth within the juvenile justice cohort was also observed.

Conclusions: This study confirms the ongoing and pervasive nature of Black children’s disparity beyond the child welfare system into the youth criminal justice system. It urges that we adopt an approach that recognizes racial disparity as a form of racial profiling stemming from anti-Black racism. Social workers engaging in disparity research, must do so from a critical lens that aims to target the structures and systems that surround Black families rather than the families themselves.