1st Edition

Black Single Mothers and the Child Welfare System
A Guide for Social Workers on Addressing Oppression

ISBN 9781138903005
Published December 2, 2015 by Routledge
116 Pages

USD $34.95

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Book Description

Black Single Mothers and the Child Welfare System examines the pressures, hardships, and oppression women of color face in the child welfare system, and how this affects social workers who investigate childhood abuse and neglect. Author Brandynicole Brooks addresses intersectionality and ideological, institutional, interpersonal, and internalized oppression and how it affects the safety, permanence, and well-being of children. Through research and real-life examples, the reader will be immersed in a historical perspective of oppression faced by black single mothers involved with social service systems, understand the definition of oppression and its four interrelated facets, examine ways oppression plays out in child welfare supports and services, and discover new integrated methods of addressing oppression. The last chapter discusses theory, generalist social work practice, and transformational leadership styles, which can be used by social workers to advocate on behalf of their clients and inspire self-advocacy, thus transforming child welfare.

Table of Contents

Preface  Acknowledgements  Introduction  1. Historical Perspectives of Child Welfare and Intersectionality  1.1 Child Welfare Historically  1.2 The Women’s Movement  1.3 Black Women  1.4 Oppression  1.5 An Introduction to Intersectionality  2. Oppression in Child Welfare  2.1 A Separate Child Welfare System  2.2 Forms of Racism  2.3 Overrepresentation  2.4 A Mother’s Perspective  2.5 Child Protection Services  2.6 Re-entry  2.7 Addressing Oppression in Child Welfare  3. The Four Layers of Oppression and Child Welfare Practice  3.1 Ideological Oppression  3.2 Addressing Ideological Oppression  3.3 Institutional and Structural Oppression  3.4 Addressing Institutional Oppression  3.5 Interpersonal Oppression  3.6 Addressing Interpersonal Oppression  3.7 Internalized Oppression  3.8 Addressing Internalized Oppression  3.9 Removing the Weight of Oppression  3.10 Privilege  4. Transforming Child Welfare  4.1 Social Justice in Social Work  4.2 Social Justice in Action  4.3 Theoretical Perspectives  4.4 Future Practice

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Brandynicole Brooks, LICSW, is a clinical social worker who has worked in the child welfare arena for over a decade, providing crisis intervention, crisis counseling, comprehensive family assessment, and focused family counseling. She is also an adjunct professor of social work at the University of the District of Columbia and a graduate of the School of Social Work at the University of Alabama.


Black Single Mothers in the Child Welfare System takes a critical look at the historical conceptions of Black women as single mothers. Using the "intersections" of patriarchy, poverty, power, and privilege, Professor Brooks shows us how these early harmful ideas have crept into current child welfare practice frameworks with Black single mothers. Most importantly, this text offers guiding principles for the transformation of future practice.—Chester Marshall MSW, LICSW, LCSW-C is an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Social Work at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.

This book provides an in depth introduction to the complexities involved in understanding how oppression and its ever present companions (e.g.,  racisms, sexism, “classism”) and their intersectionality infiltrate the perceptions of, interventions used with, and outcomes for Black single mothers and their children involved with the child welfare system. Providing theoretical and practice support, Ms. Brooks presents a call to action for providing anti-oppressive child welfare social work practice.—Cassandra E. Simon, PhD, MSW, is associate professor and editor of The Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship at The University of Alabama School of Social Work

I have a profound respect for Brandynicole Brooks’ clinical insight that is now equally matched by her insightful self-awareness. Brooks’ internal reflection has resulted in an open, inspiring, and layered challenge to social workers who practice in child welfare. I hope we embrace this opportunity, feel empowered and thusly empower.— Christian Greene, LICSW, is the co-author of “Aspects of Abuse: Recognizing and Responding to Child Maltreatment” published by Current Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care and received her masters in social work from Howard University in Washington, D.C.