Saginaw County serves as a pilot project site for the Michigan Coalition on Race Equity in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare. The project seeks to reduce disproportionate minority contact, which is the over-representation and disparate treatment of children and youth of color in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Public Policy Associates, Inc. (PPA) was selected to provide project support.
The PPA team: PPA President Dr. Paul Elam is the project manager. He has been analyzing data for the Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice for several years and was previously the project manager for the Michigan Child Welfare Improvement Task Force.
Our work: PPA helped in the development of a broad-based local steering team to oversee the work. PPA collected, analyzed, and explained the data to the steering team. The research identified disproportionate minority contact and plausible explanations for it.
PPA has coached the steering team through a five-phase learning and action plan: identification, assessment, intervention, evaluation and monitoring. The work is being coordinated with the Michigan Supreme Court’s State Court Administrative Office-Child Welfare Services Division, which is working to reduce disproportionate minority contact at the state level.
Results: The Saginaw County pilot project is providing community leaders with a deeper understanding of the underlying causes of disproportionate minority contact in one area of the state and positions stakeholders to devise and carry out evidence-based solutions applicable in Saginaw and possibly elsewhere in Michigan.