Promoting Latino child and family welfare: Strategies for strengthening the child welfare system

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The purposes of this paper are to: present social and family data on Latinos in the Northeastern U.S. and Puerto Rico; provide an overview of Latino families and children in the child welfare system; discuss the quality of social service practice with respect to Latino children and families; identify concerns in child welfare legislation for Latino families and children; and present specific recommendations for systemic change to promote the strengthening of Latino families and children. Three major methods were used to summarize knowledge of Latino child welfare. A literature review was conducted from 1970 to the present on minority children, Latino children and child welfare (i.e., child abuse and neglect, foster care, kin care and adoption), and legislation in child welfare. The second method was the extraction and compilation of available national and state data on the social and economic profile of Latinos and child welfare data for Puerto Rico and the six Northeastern states with the highest Latino concentrations. The third approach involved reviewing state and local child welfare reports, memos, and unpublished documents on the status of Latino children in child welfare. The data show that Latino children, especially Puerto Rican children due to their disproportionate poverty rates, are more likely to be removed from their homes, are less likely to be from families that obtain bilingual and bicultural services, and are less likely to receive preventive or comprehensive restorative intervention services. The conclusions draw on best practice intervention strategies to strengthen Latino families and children.

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Children and Youth Services Review

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