A number of research studies contend that professionals can face challenges in engaging black parents in child protection practice for safeguarding at risk children from harm, and many of these families are described in the available literature as difficult to reach. These groups include, families living in gang associated neighbourhoods, trafficked and sexually exploited children, as well as families whose first language is not English.
Engaging economically disadvantaged and socially marginalised families has traditionally been difficult, and commentators have noted that there are further factors that inhibit black families in particular from engaging with child protection services. This includes mistrust of the ‘system’ and being stigmatised by their community members.
Support for Black Children
Black children are more likely to receive a ‘compulsion-based’ rather than support-based service. They are more likely to be referred to social services by statutory services such as the police, or health and education workers, rather than self-referrals. It has also been noted that, they are also more likely to come to the attention of social service when they are at ‘breaking point’ (Thoburn et al 2004).
A consistent concern about gathering information on safeguarding black children is the near absence of race specific studies in this area. More recently studies have sought to address this deficit, however, this is one of the issues that presents when we seek to assess service gaps for black children and this paucity of data is seen as evidence of one of the ways in which the safeguarding needs of black children is compromised. (Bernard et al 2016)