Perceptions of disproportionality in child welfare

The present study replicated the research questions from the study by Chibnall, S., Dutch, N., Jones-Harden, B., Brown, A., and Gourdine, R. (2003), who researched the perceptions of child-welfare personnel regarding the issue of racial disproportionality. The present study explored child-welfare social workers’ perceptions on racial disproportionality within San Joaquin County. Two focus groups were conducted consisting of 4–6 participants; the first group consisted of San Joaquin County child-welfare social workers, and the second group consisted of social workers who were involved in the Disproportionality Project. The major theme that participants identified was the need for prevention services to African American families and children. There is a need for the child-welfare system and child-welfare social workers to work effectively with children and families of color; one of the primary recommendations is for them to build trusting relationships with the African American families and community. A recommendation for future research is the need to explore the perceptions of social workers from child-welfare agencies and community partners in surrounding counties regarding their thoughts about disproportionality.