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Explaining Black-White Disparity in Maltreatment: Poverty, Female-Headed Families, and Urbanization

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The purpose of the current study was to assess a structural level explanation of racial disparity in child maltreatment. Using data from Florida counties (1998–2001) and the 2000 census, the effects of poverty, concentrated poverty, and female-headed families in poverty on Black, White, and the difference between Black-White rates of child maltreatment were assessed (N= 67). Results suggested that the structural covariates of maltreatment vary by race and that differences in female-headed families in poverty can explain some, but not all, of the Black-White racial disparity in child maltreatment. Increasing programs that focus on reducing poverty among female-headed Black families and the exposure of Black families to concentrated poverty should decrease some of the overrepresentation of Black children in the child welfare system.

Keywords: abuse; neglect; neighborhood; poverty; race; victimization

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Illinois at Chicago

Publication date: August 1, 2005


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