Parent review feedback summary
- Parent reviewers broadly recommended blind removals in practice if there is agreed positive intent and if workers understand racial bias and why blind removals work.
- To be even more effective against persistent racial bias in the field, parent reviewers suggested blind removals occur in an agency as part of a comprehensive race equity process including policy change.
- Parent reviewers cautioned that implicit bias and use of phrases like “urban youth” might still lead child welfare teams to biased decision-making.
What is the intervention?
Investigative staff traditionally present case details to a committee made up of supervisors, managers, and an attorney before the decision is made to remove a child from his or her home. After hearing the details, participating staff evaluate the facts of the case, including whether there is evidence of high risk to determine if safety is an imminent concern. The committee then makes a recommendation about whether the child should be removed from the home. Blind removal meetings follow the same practice but with a key difference: staff de-identify the case file and present details without any mention of demographic information that may illicit implicit bias, including removing names, races, ethnicities, and addresses.
In addition to investigative staff, home-finding staff also are made aware of the family’s demographics and neighborhood information so they can immediately begin locating a kinship or community-based placement if a decision to remove is made. These staff are asked to refrain from participating in removal decisions, however. Overall, the blind removal process is meant to reduce potential for implicit bias and encourage assessment of safety and risk by considering the family’s strengths, relevant history, and caregiver ability to protect the child.
What makes it a Bright Spot?
Blind removals is a practice that recognizes racial disparity and racial bias in child welfare. Implicit bias training has not been demonstrated as a significant or sustainable in reducing removals. Alternatively, blind removals is a tool designed to reduce the harm of racial bias by removing opportunities for bias in decision-making to occur. While still new in practice, and most successful when paired with other upstream interventions, blind removals may be one way to reduce harm done by reducing the percentage of children of color in foster care.
What steps can you take?
- This is a data-lead intervention, so become intimately familiar with your jurisdictional outcome data by race. At every decision point, disaggregated by race, identify where disproportionality exists, where this or other blinding processes may be applied.
- To help assess if blind removals is right for your agency, learn the goals and process of blind removals, watching Dr. Jessica Pryce’s TEDx Talk with your team
These materials may help provide additional context and information about this family-approved resource for systems change.
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