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
Generations United (2020)
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.
Family, Economic, and Geographic Characteristics of Black Families With Children
Lloyd, Hammond, & Logan (2021)
Compiles a series of briefs that highlights recent data, historical context, the role of Federal policies on addressing structural inequities, and housing access and provides additional resources that supports Black families.
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
Discusses how the use of kinship care promotes racial equity and increases rates of permanency for children and youth within Black and Native families and communities.
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.
Our Systems Meant to Help Are Hurting Black Families
National Institute for Children’s Health Equity
Provides testimony from the perspective of an advocate for parents on how biased reporting causes unintentional harm for mothers and children in Black families.
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.
Successfully Recruiting and Supporting African American Families
Describes how an adoption administrator in Iredell County, North Carolina was better able to recruit and support African-American families who were considering adoption.
Transforming Child Welfare: Prioritizing Prevention, Racial Equity, and Advancing Child and Family Well-Being
Thomas & Halbert (2021)
National Council on Family Relations
Presents a policy brief that stresses the need for a transformed approach of the child welfare system that prioritizes maltreatment prevention, racial equity, and child and family well-being.
Unlocking and Addressing the Barriers to Retention of African American Families
Adopt Talk, 2 (2021)
North American Council on Adoptable Children
Discusses the need to increase recruitment of families of color for adoptable children and youth and how one strategy achieved this goal in Allegheny County, PA.
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.
Achieving Equity for African American Children and Families in Minnesota’s Child Welfare System (PDF - 220 KB)
Kamm, Krein, Simon, & Wolff (2020)
Minnesota State University, Department of Social Work
Discusses how Minnesota’s child welfare system implemented provisions of the African American Family Preservation Act to achieve equity for children and families.
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.
Racial Justice Requires Improvements to Texas CPS System
Texans Care for Children (2020)
Reviews how the child protective services (CPS) system in Texas is reflecting on available data and families' experiences to improve their system to better address racial injustice and disparities.
Taking a Closer Look at the Reduction in Entry Rates for Children in Sacramento County With an Emphasis on African American Children
Casey Family Programs (2020)
Offers a report that discusses strategies the Sacramento County Child Welfare Agency in California instituted to reduce the rate of African-American children entering their foster care system.