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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

Database of Past CMRL Messages

Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages. The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - March 6, 2018 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 9032
Date: 2011-11-22

Author:Francis Drake

Subject:RE: Measuring racism

I’m not used to hearing myself talked about. Rather a strange feeling. If I may venture the following with the understanding that I am speaking for myself only and not my co-authors – The Pediatrics article uses simple national data and looks at the front end (reporting and validation) of the CPS system only. With regard to African-American/White disproportionality: * The roughly 2:1 official CA/N disproportionality rate* is lower than the roughly 3:1 disproportionality found when looking at poverty. * The roughly 2:1 official CA/N disproportionality rate* is about the same as NIS-4 found. * The roughly 2:1 official CA/N disproportionality rate* is about the same or less than disproportionalities in a number of other key outcome areas, including infant mortality, infant fatal accidents, low birth weight, etc… It is especially interesting that some of these areas (especially infant mortality and low birth weight) are not subject to much, if any bias in reporting. Like every other human enterprise CPS is undoubtedly not “racism-free”. I have never said or written that bias does not exist at all and I would find it troubling to be so characterized. However, for policy purposes, we must confront the key question “is bias a larger factor or is risk a larger factor in driving front-end disproportionality”. To me, the data are quite convincing in showing that risk is by far the larger factor, at least as applies to reporting and substantiation. There are few or no data showing that bias has a large effect at the front end, while the evidence that African American families face higher risk than White families is nothing short of overwhelming. -Brett Drake Washington University ------------------------- *relates to “victims” of child maltreatment – essentially people who are reported and “substantiated”, “indicated” or similar.

I’m not used to hearing myself talked about. Rather a strange feeling. If I may venture the following with the understanding that I am speaking for myself only and not my co-authors – The Pediatrics article uses simple national data and looks at the front end (reporting and validation) of the CPS system only. With regard to African-American/White disproportionality: * The roughly 2:1 official CA/N disproportionality rate* is lower than the roughly 3:1 disproportionality found when looking at poverty. * The roughly 2:1 official CA/N disproportionality rate* is about the same as NIS-4 found. * The roughly 2:1 official CA/N disproportionality rate* is about the same or less than disproportionalities in a number of other key outcome areas, including infant mortality, infant fatal accidents, low birth weight, etc… It is especially interesting that some of these areas (especially infant mortality and low birth weight) are not subject to much, if any bias in reporting. Like every other human enterprise CPS is undoubtedly not “racism-free”. I have never said or written that bias does not exist at all and I would find it troubling to be so characterized. However, for policy purposes, we must confront the key question “is bias a larger factor or is risk a larger factor in driving front-end disproportionality”. To me, the data are quite convincing in showing that risk is by far the larger factor, at least as applies to reporting and substantiation. There are few or no data showing that bias has a large effect at the front end, while the evidence that African American families face higher risk than White families is nothing short of overwhelming. -Brett Drake Washington University ------------------------- *relates to “victims” of child maltreatment – essentially people who are reported and “substantiated”, “indicated” or similar.