The Child Welfare League of America is pleased to announce a call for essays that will be developed into a special issue of Child Welfare journal. This call is dedicated to eliciting topics from practitioners, policy-makers, and researchers who represent a range of different disciplines about the underrepresentation of groups or communities who infrequently come into contact with the child welfare system. This call for essays is the first step in formulating the themes for a special issue of Child Welfare journal.

A growing body of research over the past 20 years has illuminated why some groups—such as Native-born Latino, African American, and Native American children and families—are overrepresented in the child welfare system. There are other individuals, groups, and communities, however, that may experience maltreatment, but remain unknown, isolated, and insular to researchers and policy-makers alike.

The origin of the English word insular comes from the Latin word, insula, meaning island, often referring to how rural areas are isolated from other communities (Seaton, 1998). In a broader sense, there are many communities that are insular not only due to geography, but also to religious, cultural, language and other sources of isolation. What groups remain insulated or isolated from the child welfare system? Do they remain insulated because child maltreatment occurs less infrequently? If so, what protective factors or evidence-informed strategies decrease child maltreatment in these communities? Alternatively, if abuse is prevalent in some insular communities, why is it not being detected or reported to child welfare agencies?

The selected essays will serve as an initial platform to address these timely questions and generate new ideas for research to increase awareness of child maltreatment in insular and isolated communities. The essays will be published and distributed by CWLA, and will also inform the call for papers related to a forthcoming special issue of Child Welfare journal on this topic.

The essay should:

  1. Identify the target population (i.e., and isolated or insular community)
  2. Introduce a theoretical framework that links isolation to underrepresentation within the target population
  3. Rely upon theory and/or prior research to describe causes of underrepresentation and issues related to awareness or detection of child maltreatment
  4. Propose what methods (participants, data collection procedures, analyses) will be implemented to identify evidence-informed, culturally relevant strategies to raise awareness of and/or address child maltreatment among the target population
  5. Explain how the proposed methods will inform development and/or implementation of effective child welfare practice and policy for the insular/isolated community.

Prospective authors should submit essays of 1,200-1,500 words to Child Welfare’s managing editor, Rachel Adams (, by September 29, 2017.