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(p. 71) Juvenile Dependency Court: The Role of Race in Decisions, Outcomes, and Participant Experiences 

(p. 71) Juvenile Dependency Court: The Role of Race in Decisions, Outcomes, and Participant Experiences
Chapter:
(p. 71) Juvenile Dependency Court: The Role of Race in Decisions, Outcomes, and Participant Experiences
Author(s):

Kyndra C. Cleveland

and Jodi A. Quas

DOI:
10.1093/med-psych/9780190056742.003.0005
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date: 19 January 2021

The juvenile dependency court is designed to ensure children’s safety and best interests, primarily by providing services to families and reunifying children and parents, when possible. However, the dependency system’s informal and discretionary policies may perpetuate racial disproportionality and contribute to disparity. Historically, the system perpetuated bias by exerting control over poor and minority, particularly Black, families. Remnants of this past are still seen today in the disproportionate number of low-income and minority families involved in the system. Key to understanding this disparity and identifying interventions is greater knowledge about dependency professionals’ decision-making and better understanding of parents’ experiences, which are crucial to courts’ decisions. This chapter describes important differences in minority parents’ understanding of dependency cases, which may impact their perceptions of justice, engagement, and case outcomes. Implications of these differences and recommendations for improving juvenile dependency practice and policy for all parents, especially low-income and minority parents, are also discussed.

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