Florida Public Health Review


Lessep Duncan


This paper focuses on the City of Lauderdale Lakes identifying its large African American and significant Caribbean population as faced with Disproportionate Minority Contact and high juvenile detention rates. Statistics indicate the City has a high rate of poverty and crime in comparison with state and national averages with a high county rate of racially disproportionate arrests, convictions, and detentions. Ameliorating these concerns requires culturally aware approaches that include community involvement, and reducing alienation in an attempt to serve an at-risk population. An underutilized service – kinship care - is proposed to address disproportionate detention rates. Evidence points to kinship care, a traditional form of support and potential source of community strength, as providing better developmental outcomes for youth. Revised assessment instruments employed by culturally competent staff comprise the necessary requirements for a relevant kinship care service. Recognizing the character of the community and traditional black families as a source of strength enhances the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (FDJJ) and local agencies ability to provide more culturally appropriate approaches including kinship care to prevent delinquency and reduce detention of youth.