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About OCS: Decrease Disproportionality

A primary goal of the Office of Children's Services is to decrease ethnic disproportionality. In order to meet this goal OCS has implemented the following strategies:

Working with tribal and state partners to develop effective strategies

Throughout the national child welfare system, children of ethnic backgrounds other than Caucasian are represented in numbers that exceed their relative proportion of the population. Rates of substantiated maltreatment, entry into out-of-home care, and length of stay are all higher for children of ethnic backgrounds other than Caucasian. Family reunification and exit rates are lower.

That trend is also true in Alaska where approximately 60 percent of children in state custody are Alaska Native. The Office of Children’s Services, in collaboration with tribal child welfare leaders and Casey Family Programs, is working to decrease this disparity.

Ongoing efforts include strategic planning with the Tribal State Collaboration Group, local plans between tribal and state partners, and Undoing Racism Training. The Collaborative Leadership Program and the Breakthrough Series Collaboration offered by Casey Family Programs and implemented locally, is designed to build collaborative leaderships that will create better outcomes for children, families, tribes and communities.

Another strategy is the Kinship Care initiative, which has been used in the northern region of the state and is now expanding statewide. In this program, child welfare agencies and tribes work together to improve the way to identify, partner with and support kinship caregivers.

In addition, in June 2005 the Office of Children’s Services created a Native Rural Recruitment Team with Native leaders to address the shortage of Native resource homes in Alaska.