Economic and concrete supports can help families meet their basic needs, alleviating stress and promoting well-being. They include supports such as housing programs, food assistance, child care, and other economic assistance.

Poverty is not the same as neglect, and most families experiencing poverty do not neglect their children. However, those families are overrepresented in the population of people reported to child protective services. Providing economic and concrete supports to families—many of whom may also be affected by overpolicing or oversurveillance—can reduce the risk of family separation or help them reunify if separation already occurred.  

Creating policies that facilitate connecting families to supports tailored to their unique needs and identifying potential bias within procedures and practice is essential. Additionally, families should be centrally involved in decision-making, including when determining which supports they need. Child welfare professionals should be aware of cultural differences and implicit biases when making decisions with families about supports.

Families may need assistance overcoming certain obstacles, including those rooted in historical and systemic racism or locality-based challenges (e.g., availability of supports in rural areas). Collaboration among agencies and communities can help families overcome these barriers.

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