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Public Policy and Administration


Ross Alexander


The child welfare system (CWS) serves around half a million families each year in America. Of those, in Texas, hundreds of thousands of African American families represent the greatest percentages of families in the CWS when compared with their respective numbers in the general population. In 2013, African American children made up about 13.9% of the overall population of children in the United States; however, these children represented close to 26% (or 101,938) African American children in the system with CWS. Child Protective Services (CPS) has various programs and services, including parent education referrals to social services agencies that carry out the mission of protecting these vulnerable populations, yet the services provided to African American clients tend to lack cultural adaptability. In Region 3, there are 46 CPS offices, with 6 of them being in Dallas, Texas. This qualitative case study, based on the social learning theory (SLT), included 14 child welfare workers who have provided services to African American families. The SLT offers 2 primary ways in which humans learn, and according to Bandura, individuals learn by watching and copying models and consequences, reinforcements, and punishments. The study involved a demographic questionnaire and interviews that allowed the child welfare workers to express their perceptions of the Effective Black Parenting Program (EBPP), parenting skill-building program created for parents of African American children. Three research questions drove this study and data were analyzed using NVivo 12.0 and coded techniques for four emergent themes. Findings from the study may be used by social service agencies to better serve their clientele.