What’s Really Behind Black Child-Abuse Stats

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A new study debunks the long-held belief that racial bias by those who report abuse is behind the disproportionately high numbers for black children.

Rates of reported child abuse are disproportionately high for black children, a fact that has long been linked to suspected racial bias by a largely white child-protection workforce. But a recently released study by Washington University researchers debunks that allegation, citing poverty as the main reason black children are twice as likely as white children to suffer abuse.

Published in the March issue of the journal Pediatrics, the study, “Racial Bias in Child Protection? A Comparison of Competing Explanations Using National Data,” does note the importance of policing potential racial bias among teachers, doctors, nurses, law-enforcement officials, child-protective-services workers and other primary reporters of abuse. But the researchers argue that the broader focus should be on mitigating poverty, given that a third of black…

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