HHS and the Department of Justice Issue Title VI Joint Guidance Letter for Child Welfare Systems

Mental Health Task Force / Make It Work Milwaukee Update

Thanks to Dr. Pat McManus for sharing with us the HHS and the Department of Justice Issue Title VI Joint Guidance Letter for Child Welfare Systems. See the letter and link below. The guidance “highlights the clear need for frank and productive discussion about how child welfare laws, policies, practices and implicit bias affect communities of color.”

In addition to the Title VI guidance letter, OCR has also released two factsheets to assist child welfare agencies and the families they serve in their communities:

Factsheet: Your Rights as a Person with a Disability in the Child Welfare System

Factsheet: Protection from Race, Color or National Origin Discrimination in the Child Welfare System

Barbara Beckert, Milwaukee Office Director: DISABILITY RIGHTS WISCONSIN
6737 W. Washington St., Suite 3230, Milwaukee, WI 53214
414–773–4646 Ext 2724 Voice
414–773–4647 Fax
barbara.beckert@drwi.org


HHS and the Department of Justice Issue Title VI Joint Guidance Letter for Child Welfare Systems

Today the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) issued a joint guidance letter to state and local child welfare systems on the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its implementing regulations. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Read the joint guidance letter here.

The guidance letter aims to ensure that child welfare systems know about their responsibilities to protect the civil rights of children and families. The guidance is part of an ongoing partnership between HHS and DOJ to help child welfare agencies protect the well-being of children and ensure compliance with federal nondiscrimination laws. Last year, HHS and DOJ issued guidance on the intersection of child welfare requirements and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The guidance issued today highlights the clear need for frank and productive discussion about how child welfare laws, policies, practices and implicit bias affect communities of color.

“This joint guidance is another step in the right direction to remedy discriminatory practices in child welfare activities,” said Director Jocelyn Samuels of HHS’ Office for Civil Rights. “All professionals in state and local child welfare systems have an obligation to understand and adhere to the federal laws that protect the families and children in the communities that they serve. We hope this guidance offers far-reaching strategies for child welfare agencies to address discriminatory practices in their programs and activities.”

Data shows that particular racial and ethnic groups are overrepresented in the child welfare system compared to their numbers in the general population. The guidance letter addresses race and language access complaints that HHS and DOJ have received alleging: unnecessary removal of children from their biological families; biological parents being denied equal access to culturally competent reunification services; denial of relative or kinship placements; unnecessarily long stays in foster care; and family members being denied full and informed participation in family courts and social services simply because they have limited proficiency in speaking, reading, writing or understanding the English language.

The technical assistance notes that the goals of child welfare and non-discrimination are complementary. It also provides an overview of Title VI and answers to frequently asked questions on how Title VI applies to child welfare programs and activities, including: child welfare investigations; assessments; guardianship; removal of children from their homes; reunification services; case planning; adoption; and foster care and family court hearings.

In addition to the Title VI guidance letter, OCR has also released two factsheets to assist child welfare agencies and the families they serve in their communities:

Factsheet: Your Rights as a Person with a Disability in the Child Welfare System

Factsheet: Protection from Race, Color or National Origin Discrimination in the Child Welfare System

Learn more about HHS OCR’s enforcement efforts in child welfare activities by visiting our website here.

To learn more about non-discrimination and health information privacy laws, your civil rights, and privacy rights in health care and human service settings, and to find information on filing a complaint, visit us at www.hhs.gov/ocr.

Follow OCR on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HHSOCR.

Back to top
Back to Health

Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on November 17, 2016

Legal Information |  Designed and built by Emergency Digital. | Hosted by Steadfast Networks