Journal Article

Black African Children and the Child Protection System

Claudia Bernard and Anna Gupta

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 3, pages 476-492
Published in print April 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online December 2006 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Black African Children and the Child Protection System

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This paper explores black African children’s experiences of the child protection system in the UK. The central focus of the paper is a review of the available literature on the social circumstances and environmental influences affecting many black African families involved in the child protection system; specific parenting practices and care-giving environments; and their experiences of social work and other professional interventions aimed at safeguarding and promoting the needs of African children. This paper examines these themes to elucidate the factors that contribute to the provision of effective, culturally competent interventions with black African children at risk of significant harm. It suggests that there are a number of tensions inherent for professionals in working with culturally diverse African families such as reconciling different beliefs and behaviours concerning child-rearing practices; affirming the parenting practices of these families in the engagement process; adopting a strengths-based orientation whilst at the same time safeguarding and promoting the welfare of vulnerable children. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications for practice.

Keywords: African children; child protection; cultural interpretations; child-rearing practices

Journal Article.  7267 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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