This page highlights issues relevant to working with African-American families. This includes understanding the impact of historical trauma and ongoing trauma on African-American individuals and families as well as relevant cultural issues. Below, find resources to support child welfare professionals in working with African-American children, youth, and families, including State and local examples.
African American Grandfamilies: Helping Children Thrive Through Connection to Family and Culture
Provides access to a toolkit to help child welfare and other government agencies provide better services for African American families by helping children thrive while they remain connected to their family and culture during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Changing Course: Improving Outcomes for African American Males Involved with Child Welfare Systems (PDF - 1,188 KB)
Miller, Farrow, Meltzer, & Notkin (2014)
Outlines the experience of African-American males involved with the child welfare system and provides recommendations for specific policy and practice strategies to implement that show promise in supporting improved outcomes for African-American males.
Factors Impeding the Social and Academic Progress of African American Males in Foster Care
Sandles & Magdaleno (2016)
CLEARvoz Journal, 3(2)
Identifies factors that impede and contribute to the social and academic achievement of African-American males in foster care, as well as proposals for potential remedies.
Finding More African-American Families for Children in Care
Describes a research project designed to identify barriers in the recruitment, training, and retention of families of color as foster caregivers.
I Can't Breathe: Understanding Cultural Trauma, Grief and Mourning Experienced by African Americans [Video]
Business Academy for Social Workers & Counselors
Discusses historical and ongoing trauma experienced by African Americans and provides strategies for supporting African-American colleagues, children, and families.
Microaggressions in the Child Welfare Workplace (PDF - 196 KB)
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (2019)
Discusses three specific types of racial microaggressions before recommending steps for systemic change.
Race and Poverty Bias in the Child Welfare System: Strategies for Child Welfare Practitioners
Child Law Practice Today
Explains how explicit and implicit biases contribute to racial disproportionality in the child welfare system. The article also provides recommendations for child welfare practitioners to decrease the effect of these biases.
Why Develop a Culturally Sensitive Approach to Social Work With African American Clients?
The New Social Worker
Discusses cultural differences that may impede a social worker's ability to build rapport with African-American clients and explains how a culturally sensitive approach mitigates these challenges.
An Ethnography of African American Parents’ Perceptions About Exiting the Child Welfare System
Examines the perceived barriers experienced by African-American families navigating the child welfare system in Michigan.
Fresno County Department of Social Services: Confronting Racial Inequities and Disproportionality to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes for Children & Families (PDF - 476 KB)
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Provides insight into Fresno County’s early and continuing efforts to address racial inequities in the California county's child welfare system, as well as improve outcomes for all children and youth involved.