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May 2005Vol. 6, No. 4Child Abuse and Culture

Cultural competency and multicultural approaches in child welfare are the focus of a new book, Child Abuse and Culture: Working With Diverse Families, by L. A. Fontes. This book is designed to help child welfare workers develop a multicultural approach to helping their client families by confronting their own prejudices, overcoming language and culture barriers, respecting families' values while ensuring children's safety, and creating an agency environment that is welcoming to all.

Chapters address:

  • Developing a multicultural orientation
  • Working with immigrant families affected by child maltreatment
  • Assessing diverse families for child maltreatment
  • Interviewing diverse families
  • Physical discipline and abuse
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Working with interpreters
  • Child maltreatment prevention and parent education
  • Improving cultural competency of an agency

Each chapter concludes with a set of questions for reflection and discussion, so that the book may serve not only as a reference for social workers and therapists, but also as a supplementary text for trainees and students. In addition, the book includes a number of case examples to illustrate commonly encountered challenges and ways to deal with them.

The book, published by Guilford Press, is available on the publisher's website at

Related Items

Read more about culturally competent child welfare practice in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

  • "Cultural Competence Training" (February 2005)
  • "Culturally Competent Practice with Urban Indian Children and Families" (December 2003/January 2004)
  • "Interviewing Immigrant Children About Maltreatment" (September/October 2001)