• March 2016
  • Vol. 17, No. 1

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Special Focus: African-American History

Last month was African-American History Month. From the first celebration of Negro History Week in 1926, the sacrifices, struggles, and accomplishments of African-Americans have been honored annually. By the middle of the 20th century, Negro History Week had become a central part of African-American life. The civil rights movement of the 1960s propelled Black history forward, leading to national African-American History Month in 1976. In this month's CBX, we bring attention to the strengths African-American children, youth, and families have and the challenges they can face when receiving child welfare services.

African-Americans are disproportionally represented in child welfare systems. African-American families have many strengths that can be built upon to reduce disproportionality, including strong kinship relationships, flexibility and adaptability of family roles, and a strong orientation toward achievement for not only themselves and their families, but the collective advancement of African-Americans.

In addition to drawing on these strengths, child welfare professionals can use diligent recruitment practices to help locate homes for African-American children in the child welfare system. Diligent recruitment is more than just the practice of recruiting a diverse resource family population. It is also recruiting and developing homes, including relative homes, which could accommodate siblings and allow children and youth to stay in their schools.2 

Child welfare professionals can leverage these strengths, coupled with cultural competency and diligent recruitment practices, to create positive outcomes for the African-American children, youth, and families who come into contact with child welfare. For more information on disproportionality, cultural competence, and tips for working with African-American families, see the following resources:

1 AdoptUSKids. (2012). Working With African-American Adoptive, Foster, and Kinship Families. Retrieved from http://adoptuskids.org/_assets/files/NRCRRFAP/resources/working-with-african-american-families.pdf (5 MB).
2 National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment. (2014). What is diligent recruitment? Retrieved from http://www.nrcdr.org/_assets/files/NRCRRFAP/resources/what-is-diligent-recruitment.pdf (92 KB).


 

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