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Indiana Disproportionality Committee
Scope of Work
Indiana, like other states, has documented that children of color are overrepresented and often disproportionately represented in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Working collaboratively interested professionals from the state’s public and private child welfare and juvenile justice systems have come together to establish the Indiana Disproportionality Committee. The committee will study the problem and recommend actions to eliminate disparities. The scope of our work starts with operational definitions of disproportionality, overrepresentation, and disproportionate minority contact. These definitions are essential to successfully focus the committee’s concerns and work.
Operational Definitions for Disproportionality and Overrepresentation
“Overrepresentation—particularly in reference to African American children has traditionally been used to define the high numbers of children of color in the child welfare system that are larger than their population in the general population” (Addressing disproportionality in the child welfare system: Defining the issue, 2002, retrieved 04/22/05 from the World Wide Web http://www.cwla.org/articles/cv0211minorities.htm ).
“…disproportionality refers to a situation in which a particular racial/ethnic group of children are represented …at a higher percentage than other racial/ethnic groups” (Addressing disproportionality in the child welfare system: Defining the issue, 2002, retrieved 04/22/05 from the World Wide Web http://www.cwla.org/articles/cv0211minorities.htm ).
Disproportionate Minority Contact address the overrepresentation of minority youth in the juvenile justice system at all points in the juvenile justice process
(Disproportionate Minority Contact, n.d., OJJDP).
“Disproportionate Minority Contact has far-reaching consequences not only for these young offenders but for society as a whole. The challenges are complex and not easily resolved…”
(Disproportionate Minority Confinement 2002 Update, OJJDP)
Children of ALL races and ethnicities are equitably served by Indiana’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
Create equality within the Indiana child welfare and juvenile justice systems and equalize the proportion of children of color in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems with their percentage of the overall population.
By the end of 2006 Indiana will have developed, communicated and initiated the implementation of a written, sustainable plan to reduce disproportional representation and disparities in outcomes for children of color within the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.