Early Childhood Initiative Speaker Series featuring Antonio Garcia

How Can We Reduce Racial Disparities in the Child Welfare System?

March 29, 2017
3:00 PM-4:30 PM

Efforts to address the disproportionate representation of minority children and families in child welfare are limited. The current standard of practice is to refer child-welfare-involved clients to services with unknown efficacy, placing undue burden and potential harm by forcing them to engage in poor services. Relying upon practice experience and over a decade of research findings, Antonio Garcia will briefly review child welfare and wellbeing outcomes among minority youth in the foster care system and illuminate what it will take to promote access to and use of effective interventions to improve outcomes. Garcia will discuss promising strategies to reduce barriers in the process of implementing evidence-based practices in child welfare agencies, based on lessons learned from ongoing research-practice partnerships. Practitioners, system leaders, and policymakers will gain a better understanding of how best to capitalize on research findings to implement what we know to be effective and reduce disparities in practice contexts.

Antonio Garcia is an assistant professor in the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. His research trajectory is informed and enriched by his experience as a former child protective services worker and supervisor in Washington state. Having broad inter-disciplinary training in psychology, Spanish, social work, and services research, he understands the salience of effectively engaging community stakeholders, relying on relevant theoretical frameworks, and implementing advanced statistical and qualitative methods to shrink the child welfare research-to-practice gap.

Since he joined the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania in 2012, he has focused on understanding epidemiological trends related to children of color’s experiences in foster care. Most recently, his research has illuminated organizational and contextual factors that increase their odds of out-of-home displacement and their lack of access to and use of evidence-supported interventions as compared to their Caucasian counterparts. Taking stock of his findings, he is currently capitalizing on what we know to be effective to address the mental health needs of at-risk youth and families in Philadelphia. His long-term career goal is to develop effective dissemination and implementation strategies to promote the use of evidence-based or promising practices and policies for the racially/ethnically diverse pool of youth and families involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

Please join us for a reception after the talk.