In our work with children and families of color, it is important that we acknowledge the disproportionate challenges and disparities facing Black and minority communities still today. This includes the role of racism in child-serving systems that has led to an overrepresentation of children and youth of color in child welfare, child protection services, and juvenile justice.
In the U.S., 53% of Black children will be investigated as potential victims of child abuse by age 18, compared to 37% of all children (Children’s Rights). In addition, African-American and American Indian or Alaska Native children are at greater risk than other children of being confirmed for maltreatment and placed in out-of-home care (Yi et al., 2020).
Data shows that, in particular, Black families disproportionately experience oversurveillance and separation. According to a report by Child Welfare Information Gateway, researchers in the field organize explanatory factors for racial disproportionality and disparity into the following overarching pathways (Boyd, 2015; Dettlaff & Boyd, 2021; Fluke et al., 2011):
- Disproportionate and disparate needs of children of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, particularly due to higher rates of poverty
- Racial bias and discrimination exhibited by individuals (e.g., caseworkers, mandated reporters)
- Child welfare system factors (e.g., lack of resources for families of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, caseworker characteristics)
- Geographic contexts, such as the region, State, or neighborhood
- Policy and legislation (e.g., lack of measures targeting the needs of children of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds)
- Structural racism (e.g., historical policies and cultural dynamics)
Black and Hispanic youth experience adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) at a greater rate than other racial and ethnic populations. In the U.S., 61% of Black children and 51% of Hispanic children have experienced at least one ACE, compared to 40% of white children (Merrick, Ford, & Ports, 2018).
Given what we know about racial disproportionality and disparity, the prevalence of ACEs among minorities is no surprise. In the article, ACEs and Minorities, the author discusses how the high occurrence of ACEs among minority groups can likely be attributed to the uneven provision of services and opportunities in minority neighborhoods (Jamieson, 2018).
Child- and family-serving professionals play a critical role in breaking these cycles by helping to build resilience and promote healthy relationships among children and families of color. In this blog post, CalTrin highlights resources relevant to addressing systemic racism and bias, historical and ongoing trauma, advancing racial equity in child and family well-being, and cultural considerations related to family strengthening and support.
California Training Institute (CalTrin)
Hey, that’s us! CalTrin has hosted several trainings that address disproportionalities and examine equity across prevention services and child welfare. Schedule time to watch a CalTrin Replay! Whenever possible, we record our training events so that you can fit them into your schedule and share them with your team. All CalTrin Replays are free, but some may require you to register for a CalTrin account.
Full recordings and materials are available for the following CalTrin-hosted webinars and workshops in our Training Archive:
- Addressing Implicit Bias
- Being Culturally Informed: Translating Concepts to Action
- Cultural Humility: Working in and with Tribal Communities
- Culturally Responsive Family Engagement
- Equity as Context for the Journey & Attacking Disproportionality Head-on
- Helping Parents Move Beyond their Own ACEs
- Historical & Racial Trauma
- Implicit Bias Mitigation Workshop
- Invisible Individuals: Addressing Systemic Racism: What Can You Do to Be Anti-Racist
- The Culture of One: Moving Beyond Cultural Competence
- Trauma & Resilience in Tribal Communities
- Working with Asian American Families: A Strength-Based Approach
Note: You will need to log in to your CalTrin account to access select archived training materials. You can create a free account here.
Are you interested in a live learning experience? Explore our calendar and sign up for training that fits your schedule and professional development goals!
Through our work with various partner agencies and professionals immersed in this work, we have amassed a wealth of resources to support working with children and families of color. Below, we share these partner resources as well as some of our favorite finds.
Administration for Children and Families and Children’s Bureau
Resources focused on the importance of striving for racial equity in the way child welfare systems help children and families.
- Spotlight on Racial Equity in Child Welfare
- National Call to Action on Racial Equity
California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC)
Our partner project, the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC), promotes the effective implementation of evidence-based practices for children and families involved with the child welfare system. Explore the CEBC’s Reducing Racial Disparity and Disproportionality in Child Welfare topic area, highlighting programs that propose replicable strategies for reducing disparities and disproportionalities facing children of color. View all programs in this topic area reviewed by the CEBC online here. Another great resource from the CEBC is their guide on Creating an Inclusive, Equitable, Anti-Racist Workplace.
Capacity Building Center for States and Center for Tribes
- Racial Equity Resource Collection
- Diversity, Racial Equity, and Inclusion in Child Welfare: Terms and Definitions
- Focusing on Race Equity Throughout Change and Implementation
- Interactive Course: Family Assessment: Understanding Bias
- Advancing Racial Equity in Child Welfare: Child Welfare Virtual Expo (CWVE) 2021
- Access recordings and materials from the Expo, including the CWVE 2021 Discussion Guide
Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University
- How Racism Can Affect Child Development (Infographic)
- Moving Upstream: Confronting Racism to Open Up Children’s Potential
- Re-Envisioning Early Childhood Policy and Practice in a World of Striking Inequality and Uncertainty
Center for the Study of Social Policy
- A Social Ecological Model of Racism & Anti-Racism
- Achieving Racial Equity: Child Welfare Policy Strategies to Improve Outcomes for Children of Color
- CWARE Public Discussion: History of Racism in Child Welfare
- Shifting the Perceptions and Treatment of Black, Native, and Latinx Youth Involved in Systems of Care
- Supporting the First 1,000 Days of A Child’s Life: An Anti-Racist Blueprint for Early Childhood Well-Being and Child Welfare Prevention
- Systemically Neglected: How Racism Structures Public Systems to Produce Child Neglect
- Elevating Culturally Specific Evidence-Based Practices
- Racial Bias in Data Assessment Tool
- System Transformation Through Community Leadership: Strategies for building effective partnerships with Black and Brown communities
Child Trends thinks critically about the historical, political, and societal biases—explicit and implicit—that impact the lives of children, especially those in communities of color. View the latest research and analysis within their Racial Equity topic area, including:
- A Reimagined Vision for Black Child and Family Well-being from National and Local Leaders
- Black Children and Adolescents Can Achieve Greater Heights with Research-informed Policies and Practices
- Priorities for Child Trends’ Applied Research Agenda on Black Children and Families
- Reimagining Black Families’ Cultural Assets Can Inform Policies and Practices That Enhance Their Well-being
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Child Welfare Information Gateway highlights issues relevant to working with Black families, which include understanding the impact of racism, historical trauma, and ongoing trauma on Black individuals and families, as well as relevant cultural issues.
- Addressing Bias
- Child Welfare Practice to Address Racial Disproportionality and Disparity
- Community Well-Being
- Cultural Responsiveness
- Disproportionality and Causes of Disproportionality
- Diverse Populations and Communities
- Equity and Inclusion When Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
- Parenting in Racially and Culturally Diverse Adoptive Families
- Racial Equity Resources for Child Welfare Professionals
- Strategies for Reducing Inequity
- Working with African American Families
- Podcast Episodes:
EmbraceRace was founded by two parents who set out to create the community and gather the resources they needed (need!) to meet the challenges faced by those raising children in a world where race matters.
- Resource Library, including these topics and more:
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI)
Explore NCWWI’s collection of resources that support child welfare staff and leaders as they confront implicit bias, implement system changes, and work to achieve racial equity within their organizations and across systems.
- NCWWI Racial Equity Topic Page
- NCWWI Inclusivity and Racial Equity Reference List
- Video Series: Reflecting on Racial Equity and Inclusion
- Using a Culturally Responsive Leadership Framework
- Overrepresentation of Black Children in Child Welfare
- Promoting Antiracist Child Welfare Practice
- Racism as Trauma: NCWWI 1-page Summary
Prevent Child Abuse America
Browse resources intended to aid others as they work to integrate an equity lens into child maltreatment prevention work as professionals, parents, and members of the community.
- Resources on Racism for Parents, Children, Educators & Others
- Video: Talking About Racism in Child and Family Advocacy (1:30:02)
Unconscious Bias Project
The Unconscious Bias Project (UBP) empowers the individual, group, and collective using the latest best practices to do more to address systemic inequities of racism, xenophobia, ageism, ableism, and others excluded in society. UBP’s mission is to help leaders build more inclusive spaces through custom programming so everyone can belong. Explore resources available on their website:
- Resources for Fighting Unconscious Bias
- What is Unconscious Bias?
- Strategies to Reduce Personal Bias
Check Out These Additional Resources!
Tools, Guides, and Topic Pages
- AdoptUSKids: Cultural Competence Resource Collection
- Casey Family Programs: Racial Equity Topic Page
- Chapin Hall:
- Children’s Rights:
- Fighting Institutional Racism at the Front End of Child Welfare Systems: A Call to Action
- Racism at the Front End of Child Welfare Fact Sheet (2023)
- Racial Justice Topic Page
- Collective Impact Forum: Racial Equity Toolkit
- Educational Equity Institute: Anti-Racism Resource Guide
- National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning: Culturally and Linguistically Responsive (CLR) Express Checkout Worksheet
- PBS KIDS:
- Sesame Street in Communities: Talking About Race (videos, activities, etc.)
- The White House Equitable Data Working Group: A Vision for Equitable Data: Recommendations from the Equitable Data Working Group
- University of Kansas Center for Community Health and Development:
- A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
- Anthropology in the Clinic: The Problem of Cultural Competency and How to Fix It by A. Kleinman & P. Benson
- Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer Eberhardt
- Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald
- Equity vs. Equality: What’s the Difference? by George Washington University, Online Master of Public Health program
- From Slavery to Freedom by John Hope Franklin
- Healing Interpersonal and Racial Trauma: Integrating Racial Socialization Into Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for African American Youth by I. W. Metzger, R. E. Anderson, F. Are, & T. Ritchwood
- Mental Health Practice With Immigrant and Refugee Youth: A Socioecological Framework by H. Ellis, S. Abdi, & J. Winer.
- The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh
Watch & Listen
- act.tv: Video: Systemic Racism Explained (4:23)
- FRIENDS National Center for Community Based Child Abuse Prevention: Historical Trauma Among African Americans Podcasts
- New York Times: Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Racism (2:26)
- PACEs Connection: Culture. Trauma. Podcast
- ProPublica: Black Men Have the Shortest Lifespans of Any Americans. This Theory Explains Why. (2:37)
- TEDx: Black Folk Mental Health: Generational Trauma, Traditions & Truth with Jelan Agnew (9:03)
*Last updated December 8, 2023