Top Stories of 2019: Race and Bias in New York

We’re counting down 10 of the biggest stories The Imprint published in 2019. Each day, we’ll connect readers with a few links to our coverage on a big story from this past year.

Black parents are more likely to lose custody of their children to the child welfare system than parents of other races. This racial disparity is highlighted in federal data – 24.3 percent of children in the foster care system are black while they only make up 13.8 percent of the overall child population.

One recent study found that 53 percent of all black children will be investigated as potential victims of child abuse by age 18, 16 percentage points higher than the rate for all children combined.

In 2019, The Imprint explored efforts to confront racial bias in New York City, one of the country’s largest local child welfare systems.

Lead Read

In New York’s Nassau County, the child welfare agency created an experiment to test the bias of caseworkers when deciding to remove a child from his or her family.

The findings were startling. By removing the identifying information of families subject to child welfare cases, caseworkers also eliminated the biases involved in that decision-making process.

Also Read

New York’s Administration for Children’s Services sent its 12,000-person workforce to school to learn about “unconscious prejudice.”

Minnesota also wrestled with the racial disparity in the state’s child welfare system, with legislators introducing the Minnesota African American Family Preservation Act to address the issue.


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