The California study linked the birth records of children born in 2002 to child protective services data from that year forward. This produced a clear record of nearly all the children from that year who were referred for maltreatment by age five.
Researchers controlled for risk factors, then compared the outcomes for Latino and black families enrolled in Medi-Cal to white mothers enrolled in Medi-Cal. In this context, the white mothers were more likely to have children referred for maltreatment and be place in foster care.
“This analysis indicates that adjusting for child and family-level risk factors is necessary to distinguish race-specific effects (which may reflect system, worker, or resource biases) from socioeconomic and health indicators associated with maltreatment risk.”
Click “A Population-Based Examination of Risk Factors for Involvement with Child Protective Services” to read the report (subscription required); we have also attached a PowerPoint presentation on the research.