• June 2006
  • Vol. 7, No. 5

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Referrals Among Asian and Pacific Islander Families

A recent study validates past claims that Asian Americans, as a whole, constitute relatively lower risk for reports of child maltreatment. However, the study also found that within this group, patterns of child maltreatment exist among different Asian and Pacific Islander ethnic groups.

Two years of child maltreatment referrals for Asian and Pacific Islander families in Washington State were analyzed. Data were recorded for 1,263 families from 12 Asian and Pacific Islander groups: Asian Indian, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Lao, Thai, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, Samoan, and Guamanian.

Researchers found certain variations among the different ethnic groups. Samoan, Cambodian, Thai, Lao, and Vietnamese families were overrepresented in CPS reports, compared with their representation in the State’s Asian and Pacific Islander population. For example, Samoan families make up only 1.7 percent of the Asian American population in Washington but had the largest proportion of CPS referrals. The overrepresented groups tended to be those that have experienced higher levels of social and economic stress. On the other hand, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Filipino families were underrepresented.

These findings highlight the importance of culturally sensitive child welfare practices. As Asian and Pacific Islanders continue to be one of the fastest growing racial groups in the United States, the need for culturally competent services for this community also will expand. Service providers should be aware of the differences among the ethnic groups within the Asian and Pacific Islander population, including differences in their social and economic backgrounds, immigration history, and parenting practices.

This article, "Patterns of Child Maltreatment Referrals Among Asian and Pacific Islander Families," by Y. Pelczarski and S. P. Kemp, appeared in the January/February 2006 issue of Child Welfare Journal, which is published by the Child Welfare League of America (http://www.cwla.org/child-welfare-journal/).

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