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“If You Do Nothing Else, Please Take Time To Listen” : Black Families and the Child Welfare System

September 15, 2022
Time: 2:00 pm CT
Location: Virtual Webinar

Part of the Building a Transformative 21st Century Research Agenda webinar series. Register on the Open Classroom platform.*

Dr. Tricia Stephens will copresent with Hope Newton, parent advocate and public speaker.

Webinar Description

It is widely understood that the racial disparities have resulted in 11% of all American Black children being placed in foster care before the age of 18. This is both unacceptable and unsustainable. Decades of research, policy and practice efforts have done little to redress disproportionality while families are often left with little benefit and significant emotional cost post-system involvement.

Many Black families who become involved in the child welfare system are in need of practical support that can be provided directly to them, should providers take the time to understand what they need. This co-lead workshop will share insights from providers and parents who have navigated the child welfare system, elevating both the pitfalls of excluding parents from planning for their families and the benefits of inclusive decision-making.

Input and thought partnering from workshop participants are encouraged and welcomed for productive pathways for the future.

About Our Presenters

Stephens is a scholar, educator and social work direct practitioner based in New York City. Her work forefronts the strengths and resilience of Black people of the African Diaspora who have survived trauma, and examines the ways in which they have also thrived. Focusing on poverty-impacted, parents of color who have been affected by the American child welfare system, Dr. Stephens interrogates the effects of parents’ interactions with the institutions built to serve them and their children. Her work with community-based, grass-roots organizations has identified the need for disruption in policies and practices that strictly regulate families.

Newton is a community organizer, domestic violence survivor and parent advocate who brings both her personal and professional experience in her current role as Program Officer for Community Partnerships with Redlich Horwitz Foundation. Drawing on her experiences of successfully reunifying with her three children, advocating for her special needs son with the NYC Department of Education, and more than a decade-long battle in Family, Criminal and Housing Courts, Hope presents on local, national and international platforms on the injustices wrought upon children, parents and families by multiple public systems. For the past seven years, she was a parent advocate with the Center for Family Representation, a not-for-profit law firm in New York City.

Partners Supporting this Effort

Since 2020, Lived Experience Experts, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Programs (CFP) and the William T. Grant Foundation have worked in partnership with a broad array of experts, stakeholders and people with lived experience to draft research gaps that span community-based family support, child protective services, out-of-home care and post-permanency services. Partnering organizations include Black Administrators in Child Welfare, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, Child Trends Hispanic Institute, the American Public Human Services Association, the Child Welfare League of America, the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and Social Current.

*Please note that the title for this talk was updated. The previous title is “The View from the Other Side: How Parents and the Representatives View Family Court.”

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