Los Angeles County Expands Its Efforts to Help Parents of African American Children

The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, the nation’s largest public child welfare organization, is building its capacity to assist more parents of African American children to be as effective and sensitive as possible in raising their children. It is doing this by training 55 additional staff members from throughout the County to deliver classes in the Center for the Improvement of Child Caring’s Effective Black Parenting Program.

The Department is responsible for preventing and treating child abuse. Parents of African American children are grossly over represented among those who are reported for child abuse. Supporting the widespread availability of CICC’s national model program is consistent with the Department’s official mandate.

The Department first supported the use of this parenting skill-building program in the late 1970s when the program first became available. It used the program as part of its Black Family Investment Project in the South Los Angeles region. The program proved to be very successful. Research showed that families, who had an opportunity to take classes in what the program teaches, were significantly less likely to be reported again for abuse. Those families became closer together and made extensive use of the positive skills and strategies taught in the program. The Department also won an award for providing culturally appropriate services.

Two years ago when the Department again focused on assisting parents of African American children, it trained 40 staff from more regions in the County to deliver classes in the program. Those classes were so helpful that the Department decided to train staff from more regions to be able to deliver such classes.

The additional 55 are being trained through instructor workshops during the month of March 2019. These workshops are being coordinated by Rochelle Frankling, Supervising Children’s Social Worker, from the Palmdale office (SPA 1) and Danita Henderson, Child Welfare Director, Shields for Families (SPA 6).

Later this year the trained staff members will be making classes available to parents who are current clients of the Department. Some regions are planning to make their classes available to parents who are not Department clients.

Descriptions of what CICC’s Effective Black Parenting Program teaches during its 15 sessions and descriptions of the program’s development and effectiveness, are available on a new website that is devoted to the program, www.africanamericanparenting.org.

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