A Practice Guide for Working with African American Families in the Child Welfare System. The Role of the Caseworker in Identifying, Developing and Supporting Strengths in African American Families Involved in Child Protection Services.
Minnesota Department of Human Services, Child Safety & Permanency Division.
Published: February 2008
Minnesota Department of Human Services
444 Lafayette Road North
St Paul, MN 55155
This practical guide was developed as a tool for social workers to enable them to help address the systemic issues of the overrepresentation and racial disparity of African American children and their families involved in child protective services. It focuses on practice and systemic change at the caseworker level. It begins with an overview of the overrepresentation of African American children in the child welfare system and findings from a study that found race interacted with case characteristics in a way that is predictive of case dispositions. The following section reviews case practice modalities to identify and support strengths in African American families. Implications for caseworker practice are then reviewed and include using different lenses when working with African American clients. Following sections discuss identifying, developing, and supporting strengths application to practice, including strategies for supporting healthy male-female relationships, promoting mothers’ well-being, and building parent-child relationships. The need to consider the family’s use of spirituality is also explained, as well as incorporating community resources to support the family. 25 references.
Diversity; Multicultural; child welfare services; Minnesota; African Americans; caseworkers; social workers role; child protective services; cultural competency; cultural differences