African American Children and Families in Child Welfare

African American Children and Families in Child Welfare: Cultural Adaptation of Services

Ramona W. Denby
Carla M. Curtis
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/denb13184
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  • Book Info
    African American Children and Families in Child Welfare
    Book Description:

    This text proposes corrective action to improve the institutional care of African American children and their families, calling attention to the specific needs of this population and the historical, social, and political factors that have shaped its experience within the child welfare system. The authors critique policy and research and suggest culturally targeted program and policy responses for more positive outcomes.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53620-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xviii)
    Carla M. Curtis
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-5)

    To those who ask, “Why do we need a book devoted specifically to African American families?” we reply that after over sixty years of nationalizing child welfare and instituting reforms aimed at improving conditions for all children in care, African American children hold a unique and uncontested disproportional position in the out-of-home care system. National reports from the federal government document a significant number of active cases among African Americans resulting from referrals to child protective service (CPS) agencies (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). Studies have also documented the fact that African American children are not the...

  6. 1 Cultural Adaptation in Effective Child Welfare Practice with African Americans
    (pp. 6-41)

    Many authors have called for a critical examination of the United States child welfare system as it relates to African American children and families (Curtis & Denby, 2004; Denby & Curtis, 2003; Dixon, 2008; Hill, 2006; McRoy, 2008; Roberts, 2002, 2008; Testa, 2005; U.S. GAO, 2007). Examiners of the U.S. child welfare system have based their critiques on historical, cultural, political, and service reviews. Most recently, some child welfare scholars have challenged researchers to develop new theories that build on historical traditions and establish evidence-based practices and policies. Traditionally, proponents of evidence-based practices search for appropriate frameworks and practice effectiveness...

  7. 2 Child Welfare in Perspective: Historical Factors Influencing African American Families and Policy Formulation
    (pp. 42-63)

    This book primarily examines the effect of the child welfare system on African American children and families, directing special attention to those aspects of the system that work now and those that could serve families more effectively if they were culturally adapted and improved. This focus requires a thoughtful, analytical understanding of past child welfare policy or laws and a thorough consideration of the social condition of African American families today, along with the factors that affect that condition. Paradoxically, in the United States the law has been alternatively the basis for discrimination and also a means of protecting the...

  8. 3 Child Welfare Policy and the African American Family
    (pp. 64-93)

    The child welfare system of services that society deems necessary to support and care for children when parents are unable to do so or until self-care is appropriate exists within a context of structured programs established through federal and state policies. There are generally several levels or types of child welfare services:

    Support services, which undergird the family unit and may be targeted to a child or parents and include education, information, recreation, and counseling, as well as behavioral health treatment and prevention services

    Supplemental services, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called the food stamp program;...

  9. 4 Safety and Protection
    (pp. 94-119)

    This chapter is the first of three that explore the services provided to children and families once contact has been made with the child welfare system. The chapter begins with a definition of child abuse and neglect and a discussion of the role of child protective services in the child welfare system. Following the review of child maltreatment categories and using the cultural adaption framework, the chapter is organized into three major sections: child investigation and protection, the child welfare court process, and out-of-home placement.

    Categories of child abuse and neglect are typically included in the more general term child...

  10. 5 Permanence for Children
    (pp. 120-137)

    Reading the U.S. Constitution carefully and conducting a literal and analytical interpretation of its contents will not produce a statement of explicit guaranteed protections or rights for children in this country. Instead, the Constitution places responsibility for a child with the parent(s) or guardian. A state may intervene in the affairs of a family to protect the interests of children only as prescribed by law. The primary referent allowing states to intervene is known as parens patriae. As adapted and used in the United States, parens patriae refers to the power of the state. The state is sovereign and becomes...

  11. 6 Child and Parent Well-Being
    (pp. 138-187)

    In child welfare the phrase “child well-being” refers to the combined effect of major indicators associated with optimal development for physical, emotional, and social growth among children. Indicators of child well-being are compiled and evaluated nationwide across income and socioeconomic differences. A majority of children in out-of-home care come from economically disadvantaged families, meaning that they are likely to live in neighborhoods that pose challenges for safety and well-being because of crime and poor housing quality, and they typically experience limitations when it comes to receiving services and benefits. General indicators of child well-being include family income, housing, transportation, education,...

  12. 7 Cultural Adaptation and Research
    (pp. 188-207)

    Given the conditions faced by African American children and families who are involved in the child welfare system, cultural adaptations of research must consider three essential elements: evidence-based intervention, advocacy-based research, and performance-based research. The first part of this chapter begins with a description of various definitions and frameworks that have been used to describe evidence-based practice. Next the use of evidence-based practice (EBPs) in child welfare is discussed. We then present a framework for how EBPs can become culturally adapted so as to better address the needs of African American children. The second section pertains to advocacy-based research and...

  13. 8 Meeting the Challenges to Bring About Change
    (pp. 208-224)

    This concluding chapter provides suggestions for the critical roles stakeholders in child welfare may assume in the crusade to improve the conditions for all children in the child welfare service system nationwide while improving the disparate condition of African American children.

    To those who question our focused treatment of the condition of African American children in the child protection service system—notwithstanding the facts related to the disparate experiences among African American children relative to reports of suspected maltreatment, out-of-home placements, termination of parental rights, and success with achieving permanence—improvements made in the system of child protection will benefit...

  14. Glossary
    (pp. 225-232)
  15. Index
    (pp. 233-246)