The over-representation of Black children in the child protection system: possible causes, consequences and solutions


Ashok Chand School of Social Work, University of Central England, Perry Barr, Birmingham B42 2SU, UK


This paper considers the controversial area of child protection with Black families. It begins by addressing the question of why the issue of child protection and ethnicity is important to social work. It then goes on to consider the current and related research in this field, and supports the arguments that Black families are likely to be over-represented in the child protection system. The reasons for this over-representation are explored in-depth as themes: these include issues around language and interpreting services; child-rearing differences; poverty; and social work assessments. Racism and discrimination are central concepts that underpin each theme. The final section looks at ways forward for social workers and their agencies with regard to working sensitively and appropriately with Black families.