The literature about child welfare practice typically focuses on the experiences and circumstances of urban and suburban families. However, child welfare professionals in rural areas need to understand the unique considerations when working in rural communities, such as rural communities' strengths and resources and the cultural sensitivity required to engage with this population. Rural communities have many strengths, including rich natural resources and natural beauty. Tradition, family, and faith may play important roles in rural areas where networks of neighbors, churches, and community groups often result in a shared spirit of helping and caring. Rural child welfare workers must recognize the differences between their practice population and urban populations and adapt their practice to meet the needs of rural families who may have less access to related services.
- Child welfare administrators and supervisors need to focus on the specific professional and personal needs of rural child welfare professionals, which often differ from those of their urban counterparts.
- Policymakers also should use the available information, such as evidence-based practices for working with rural populations, when making and evaluating rural child welfare policy.
The resources in this section will help child welfare professionals at all levels serve children and families in rural communities.