The Role of the Caseworker in Identifying, Developing and Supporting Strengths in African American Families Involved in Child Protective Services: A Practice Guide.
Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Publication Information: Chapel Hill, NC : FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention
Available from: FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention
Chapel Hill Training Outreach Project 800 Eastowne Drive Suite 105
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
This practice guide was developed as a tool for social workers to help them address the systemic issue of the overrepresentation and racial disparity of African American children and their families involved in child protective services. It is anticipated that this guide will serve as a resource and reference manual for caseworkers (the person working in the practice of social work) as they engage African American families in effective service delivery. This guide will not explore the historical context of racial disparities in detail because there are other resources for this information. This practice guide also will not focus on the role of other systems (courts, schools, law enforcement, etc.) that may impact the lives of African American families involved in the child protection system. This guide focuses on practice and systemic change, at the caseworker level. Caseworkers have a unique opportunity to engage and empower African American families on their caseloads. The use of this practice guide should first be discussed within the child protection teams with supervisors to build consensus around meaning, concepts and possible implementation. As new, improved practices are implemented by caseworkers, it is hoped that they will be able to make a paradigm shift when engaging clients in case planning activities that will result in better outcomes for African American children and families, including an appropriate reduction in African American families on caseloads. The key element to this practice paradigm shift is the caseworkers' identification, development, support and documentation of strengths in African American families on their caseloads. There is a need for a new practice model that supports building on the family's existing strengths and skills. Caseworkers need to begin to support and encourage this indigenous knowledge and wisdom so that parents can expand and build on these resources. Based on research and experience, this information was gathered and developed to assist caseworkers in: augmenting or developing their best practice skills in client engagement; understanding cultural differences between the caseworker and African American clients; appreciating the differing world views of caseworkers and clients that may be shaped by family tradition, race, culture and socioeconomic factors; and developing new methods of engagement that can lead to improved child safety, well-being and permanency outcomes for African American children. This guide brings together the knowledge presented in research literature about working with African American families, and synthesizes it into a reference guide that will help child protective services caseworkers identify strengths in African American families and build upon them. (Author abstract)
racial disproportionality; cultural competency; african americans; caseworkers; strengths assessment; client engagement; african americans