Assistant Professor Annette Semanchin Jones publishes Implementation of Differential Response: A racial equity analysis

Published November 18, 2014

Annette Semanchin Jones

Annette Semanchin Jones.

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Annette Semanchin Jones on the publication of her paper, "Implementation of differential response: A racial equity analysis" in Child Abuse & Neglect.

Differential response is a growing approach in child welfare that allows for a more flexible response to keep children safe by better engaging families. This study examined the implementation of Minnesota's approach called Family Assessment response, and explored the impact on racial equity outcomes in the state's child welfare system. Using logistic regression to analyze administrative child welfare data for all screened-in cases between 2003 and 2010 (n=122,095), this study explored whether race was a predictor in the following decision points: (1) pathway assignment to either Family Assessment (FA) response or a traditional investigation (TI); and (2) switching pathway assignment from FA to TI. Findings of the analysis indicated that when controlling for poverty and other risk factors, African American, Native American and Multiracial children were less likely to be assigned to FA compared to Caucasian children for some, but not all years in the study timeframe; while Hispanic children were more likely to be assigned to FA compared to non-Hispanic children for several years in the study timeframe. Disparities around pathway switch from family assessment to traditional investigation completely diminished over time. The results of this study highlight the importance of applying a racial equity lens in examining new policies and practices to ensure equitable implementation for all children and families. The findings also emphasize the need for better understanding of the unique experiences of Native American and Multiracial children and families, who have been under-represented in the research on racial disparities in child welfare.

Child Abuse Negl. 2014 May 30. pii: S0145-2134(14)00144-6. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.04.013. [Epub ahead of print]