This is a doctoral thesis by Marquita Marie Smith, California State University at San Bernadino – Presented 6/17
This study explored social workers perceptions of disproportionality of African American children in the child welfare system, with a particular focus how they felt child welfare agencies, and organization address the specific needs of African American children and families. Along with the types of services social workers felt could be implemented in order to address the concerns amongst African American families. Major findings in the research under represent the perspective of the social workers who work closely with these children and their families. The overall research method that was utilized in this study was qualitative by design. The data collection consisted of 11 face to face interviews with different types of social workers with current and past experiences working with African American children and families, in the child welfare agency. This research called for opinions, experience and personal beliefs from social workers. The survey consist of 13 open/close ended question and demographical questions that were personally asked to each social worker on a one on one bases. The results of this study identified African American children entering and staying in the system at longer rates, poverty, lack of resources in the community, distrust in the government and cultural competency as major contributing factors to disproportionality in the child welfare system. This study displayed a need for social workers to take on more of a strength based approach and remembering to model the NASW code of ethics when working with African American families. Recommendations for future studies include but are not limited to: exploring options to have preventative services for African American families to be offered in their homes or alternatives to easy accessible services and to explore different strategies, tool and techniques in efforts to increase the relationships between the African American families and the social workers.