In collaboration with the University of Michigan School of Social Work and the Latino Family Institute, we are pleased to announce a call for papers for a special issue of Child Welfare journal dedicated to the status of Latinx children and families in child welfare.

This call reflects a renewed urgency to examine the well-being of Latinx children in those families that are the subjects of increased stereotypes, biases, and discrimination affecting Latinx communities and resulting in impediments to their basic human rights. Although documentation of the experiences of Latinx children within the child welfare system has been inconsistent, there remains a disproportionate representation of Latinx children and youth affected by the social conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work, and age across the United States and Puerto Rico. We are interested in the extent to which such conditions and systemic responses affect the entrance into child welfare as well as efforts to promote Latinx child well-being.

Of particular interest are manuscripts that employ analysis of data, policies, programs, and notable experiences from the diverse array of practitioners and recipients in order to provide a broad perspective on the status of Latinx children and families in child welfare, including bias and other challenges. The special issue aims to highlight diverse Latinx ancestries, and the range of social factors relevant to employment and income, education and occupations, gender equity, racial integration, food security, housing, and their cumulative toll on Latinx health, mental health, safety, and stability that impede the promotion of the Latinx child’s and family’s well-being and put Latinx families at risk for child welfare involvement.

The goal of the special issue is to bring attention to the significance of the young, rapidly growing Latinx population in the United States who are accompanied by an increase in risk factors of child maltreatment associated with poverty and social inequality, income insufficiency, and the persistent lack of resource availability, accessibility, acceptability, accountability, adaptability, and affordability. Manuscripts should present new research or program evaluation findings, as well as describe innovative policies and practices for serving Latinx children, including the zero-to-five population, youth, and families who currently are involved in child welfare systems, service, and primary prevention approaches that protect basic human rights.

Manuscripts using various methods (e.g., case studies, quantitative and mixed methods analyses, and policy analyses) are welcomed. Guest editors are Robert M. Ortega, MSW, PhD, The University of Michigan School of Social Work and Maria Quintanilla, MSW, LCSW, Founder & CEO, Latino Family Institute, West Covina, California.

Of interest are manuscripts that examine the following:

  • Specific factors or conditions that increase vulnerability for sub-groups of Latinx children and youth, including adverse experiences and circumstances that coincide with child maltreatment.
  • Specific sociopolitical indicators that may affect Latinx children’s and youth’s entry into the child protection and child welfare system and services—and that may shed light on disproportionality and disparities in child welfare.
  • Models that address the disproportional inclusion of Latinx children and families in child protection systems and disparities in service acquisition.
  • Specific methods used to identify the needs, experiences, and outcomes of Latinx children and families who are involved with the child welfare system.
  • Challenges to preventing child maltreatment in Latinx communities.
  • Innovative programs, services, or initiatives targeted to improve permanency outcomes for Latinx children, and strategies for engaging Latinx families in preventive and supportive services that are Latinx family-centered and family-strengthening: kinship networks, family group conferencing, high-risk and intensive supportive services for families, and other successful services.
  • Best practice models that address the needs of Latinx minors who are unaccompanied, and lessons learned from current practice and federally funded research findings on these national projects.
  • Innovative training or workforce initiatives with Latinx children and families to promote better understanding of and provide culturally responsive services for children, youth, and families with diverse Latinx ancestries.
  • Strengths and limitations of “big data” to analyze state and/or federal policies and their impact on Latinx child welfare outcomes, including the effect of policies or ideologies regarding services and their availability to children of migrant families.
  • Innovative safety model policies or initiatives that increase permanency, systemic interactions, and/or understanding of poverty conditions to reduce punitive approaches in the child welfare system to Latinx families.

Manuscripts are welcomed from scholars, practitioners, and consumer groups and will be selected to ensure an array of perspectives based on factors such as relevant policy, advocacy, topic, and method. Prospective authors should submit abstracts of up to 750 words to Child Welfare’s managing editor, Rachel Adams, at radams@cwla.org by February 5, 2021. Abstracts should identify the topic, methods (including data sources for empirical papers), findings, and practice and policy implications. Additionally, authors should use person-first language in the abstracts.

Authors will receive decisions about their manuscripts by March 1, 2021. Initial drafts of the selected papers are due by July 1, 2021, and final papers are expected by September 1, 2021. Publication of the special issue is targeted for October-November 2021.