• July/August 2005
  • Vol. 6, No. 6

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African-American Children in Child Welfare

Two recent books look at the child welfare system from the perspective of serving African-American children.

Race Matters in Child Welfare: The Overrepresentation of African American Children in the System (2005), edited by D. Derezotes, J. Poertner, and M. Testa, is a collection of papers originally presented at the first Race Matters forum held in Washington, DC, in January 2001. These papers consider child welfare policy and practice, the causes of child maltreatment, and how each affects the disproportionate representation of African-American children in the system. They provide readers with a model with which to examine what is happening along the entire child welfare continuum, including screening, investigation, service provision, out-of-home care, and reunification. Race Matters is published by CWLA Press at https://www.cwla.org/pubs/pubdetails.asp?PUBID=8746.

Child Welfare Revisited: An Africentric Perspective (2004), edited by J. Everett, S. Chipungu, and B. Leashore, asserts the importance of cultural perspective when formulating child welfare policies and practices to secure the safety, permanence, and well being of African-American children. Grouped into three sections, "Societal and Cultural Context," "Understanding African American Families and Children," and "Using an Africentric Perspective for Practice and Service Delivery," the essays stress the importance of kinship ties; collective identity; spirituality; unity of body, mind, and spirit; and harmony between nature and humanity. Topics covered include unwed fathers' participation in permanency planning, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, systems of care for mental health disparities, and adoption. The book is published by Rutgers University Press (http://rutgerspress.rutgers.edu).

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