Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Brittany Peters


AbstractThe Haitian population has dramatically increased in the United States. Haitians face many challenges related to acculturation and adaptation, including discrimination, limited knowledge of the legal system, socioeconomic issues, and other environmental stressors that may impact family functioning. As a result of these challenges, Haitian families are at increased risk of being involved in the child welfare system. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore the challenges child welfare workers face when working with the Haitian population, with a focus on workers’ understanding and perception of these challenges. Ecological systems theory was used to highlight environmental stressors faced by members of the Haitian population and to explore participants’ perceptions of the challenges experienced while working with Haitian families. Data were collected during 45-minute in-depth interviews with eight child welfare workers. The data were analyzed using three thematic coding cycles: the first cycle of descriptive data, the second cycle of conceptual data, and the third cycle of pattern data. The following themes emerged: (a) gaps in the child welfare system and among the Haitian population, (b) cultural knowledge, (c) ecological stressors, (d) language barrier, and (e) fear/lack of trust. The findings may be used to promote awareness of the challenges faced when working with Haitian families, promote the need for further research into how to support Haitian families within the child welfare system, advocate for positive social change through development of best practices, and enhance overall social work practice with this population.

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