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March 2015Vol. 16, No. 2Family Support and Engagement in Black Families

The National Black Child Development Institute released a report, Being Black Is Not a Risk Factor: A Strengths-Based Look at the State of the Black Child, designed to enhance the lifestyles of children who are part of the Black community and address the challenges they may face. Children of color continue to be disproportionally represented in the child welfare system. In this publication, child welfare professionals will find a collection of essays from experts that focus on promoting the strengths of children, families, and communities to improve outcomes for Black children.

In the section entitled "The Black Family: Re-Imagining Family Support and Engagement," author Iheoma Iruka, a scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, identifies challenges the Black family faces in today's society and uses strength-based perspectives to explore positive ways for redefining how schools and early childhood education programs can support and engage families in the Black community. Iruka also provides a method for establishing a more effective and culturally relevant support system for Black families through the use of the "4Es"—exploration, expectation, education, and empowerment.

To access Being Black Is Not a Risk Factor: A Strengths-Based Look at the State of the Black Child, visit (2 MB).

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For more information on family engagement, explore Child Welfare Information Gateway's Family Engagement Inventory at