Although many cases may share similar circumstances and practice issues, child welfare professionals should be aware of the unique issues they may encounter when working with specific populations. Understanding the cultures, life events, and issues that may affect youth and families from specific populations will assist professionals in better serving them.
Research has shown that children and youth of color are disproportionately represented in out-of-home care. These resources provide information about promoting permanency for children and youth of color.
Cultural Competence: Impact on Permanency for African American Children [Video]
Examines how increasing cultural competency training can improve permanency outcomes among African-American children and youth. The resource presents a case example from Georgia’s foster care system.
Customary Adoption Resource List
Capacity Building Center for Tribes, Tribal Information Exchange (2021)
Presents resources that outline the importance of customary adoption in aligning child welfare practice with Tribal customs and increasing permanency for American Indian children.
Family Preservation Matters: Why Kinship Care for Black Families, Native American Families, and Other Families of Color Is Critical to Preserve Culture and Restore Family Bonds
Juvenile Law Center
Describes the role that kinship care has historically played in minority families and explains how prioritizing funding and policy related to kinship care can reduce negative outcomes associated with placement into out-of-home care.
Literature & Resource Review Characteristics of Successful Foster, Adoptive and/or Kinship Caregivers of American Indian, Alaska Native, First Nations and Native Hawaiian (AIAN/FN/NH) Children and Suggested Training Themes for these Parents
National Training and Development Curriculum for Foster and Adoptive Parents (2018)
Identifies characteristics of successful foster, adoptive, and/or kinship caregivers of AIAN/FN/NH youth as well as suggested training themes for these parents. The characteristics and suggested training themes, and their associated reference material, are outlined in this report.
Race/Ethnic Background and Child Welfare
North American Council on Adoptable Children (2022)
Provides practice and policy recommendations for recruiting families for children from diverse backgrounds in order to allow them to continually develop their racial and cultural identities.
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Youth in foster care who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (or questioning) (LGBTQ+) may face distinctive challenges in achieving legal and relational permanency. These youth may have been rejected by their birth families and other support systems due to their sexual orientation or gender expression and may even face discrimination and harassment from peers from within the child welfare system. LGBTQ+ youth also may confront unique developmental issues, such as navigating the coming-out process. The following resources can help child welfare professionals better understand the unique needs of LGBTQ+ youth and provide strategies for achieving permanency for this population.
Describes the experiences of LGBTQ+-identifying youth in the child welfare system and provides resources about recruiting and supporting families for these youth.
Center for the Study of Social Policy (2022)
Provides information on a program aimed at improving policies and practices for LGBTQ+ and gender-expansive youth involved with child welfare.
Supporting Permanency for LGBTQ+ and Gender Expansive Youth [Webinar]
Khavar & Bettencourt (2020)
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Provides guidance to child welfare professionals as they help families better recognize, engage, affirm, and love LGBTQ+ children and youth to increase permanency and positive outcomes. Additional resources about child welfare practice improvement as it relates to LGBTQ+ youth can be found at the National Quality Improvement Center on Tailored Services, Placement Stability, and Permanency for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Two-Spirit Children and Youth in Foster Care (QIC-LGBTQ2S).
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Children and youth with disabilities are overrepresented in the child welfare system and experience a higher rate of maltreatment compared with children without disabilities. Additionally, it is also more difficult to find resource families who are trained, prepared, and willing to parent children with disabilities who enter the child welfare system. To successfully find permanent homes for these children, child welfare professionals must understand the prevalence of this population in the system and be able to identify and implement appropriate services to support permanency planning.
Achieving the Least Restrictive Setting in the Child Welfare System [Webinar]
Juvenile Law Center (2017)
Explains the Federal requirements of a case plan that includes the least restrictive and most family-like setting and offers practical advice for ensuring this requirement for youth with disabilities. The webinar includes an overview of alternatives to institutional care, advocacy strategies for promoting family-based placements, and case examples.
Adopting a Child With Special Needs
Special Needs Alliance
Summarizes the prevalence of mental, physical, and developmental disabilities among children and youth in foster care and describes how foster and adoptive parents can better prepare to meet their complex needs.
Foster Care of Children With Special Needs
Medical Home Portal (2022)
Guides foster parents through the process of preparing for and supporting children and youth with complex medical needs.
Housing Resources for People With Disabilities
Offers information on Federal, State, and local housing programs for people with disabilities, including information on renting, owning a home, independent-living centers, and more.
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The immigration and citizenship status of a child in foster care can greatly affect the available permanency options and how a caseworker should approach the process. Various factors in the child's case may require special consideration based on immigration and citizenship status, such as the family's status, culture and language issues, and the applicability of pertinent domestic and international laws. The following resources offer information about and strategies for helping immigrant children and youth achieve permanency.
Children of Immigrants and Child Welfare Systems: Key Policy and Practice [Webinar]
Migration Policy Institute (2019)
Discusses the intersection of the child welfare and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement systems and provides recommendations for supporting families as they navigate both systems.
Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services
Provides resources for assisting immigrant and refugee families who are caring for nonbiological children.
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