One in three children of African descent in Maricopa County were inquired between 2015 and 2019, leaving many parents fearful of losing their kids, according to an analysis by NBC News and ProPublica, using information from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect.
The news source also cited a study carried out last year by the National Academy of Sciences which reported that local African-American offspring have a 63 percent chance of seeing their parents investigated by child protection centers, the highest rate of the nation’s 20 largest counties.
Black families and their advocates said the ubiquity of Arizona’s Department of Child Safety (DCS) not only takes the form of unnecessary inquiries and where racial bias plays a major role.
In some cases, they argued, it is the result of public policy choices that take a punitive, rather than a preventive approach toward black parents, many of whom struggle due to discrimination, lack of inherited wealth and an insufficient social safety net.
One example is that. Arizona spends most of its welfare budget on DCS-conducted investigations rather than on direct assistance to families in need, according to the analysis.
Only 2 percent of Maricopa´s children, whose families were accused of abuse between 2015 and 2019 were ultimately determined by caseworkers to be victims of any form of physical or sexual abuse afterwards, one of the lowest rates among large US counties.
About 20 percent of the people of African descent in that county lives below poverty line, compared with about 13 percent of all residents there.