Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Social Innovation (M.A.)

Degree Program

School of Community Leadership & Development

First Advisor

Joel Wendland-Liu

Academic Year



African American children continue to be overrepresented in the child welfare system. This study will show how existing research illustrates how the systems are used to put many Black families and youth into the sights of the school-to-prison pipeline via this intervention. This specific issue is rooted in systemic and historical racism. The literature has revealed this and continues to show how teachers as mandated reporters play a role in shaping the outcome through how they perceive Black children to be subjected to abuse or neglect. The child welfare system is one of many institutional frameworks that has been shaped 3 and distorted by systemic racism. Although many policies and procedures exist to adequately apply methods aligned with child protection law, there needs to be an emphasis placed on training to help reduce biases. Anti-Bias, anti-racism, and cultural sensitivity training should be a continuous effort. In addition, the evidence suggests a need for better training in place for mandated reporters; helping them to identify cultural differences when working with diverse populations, regarding what is assessed for potential child protection involvement. A qualitative survey was conducted and sent to at least 161 workers at the call center. The first ten fully completed surveys were analyzed for interpretation. Eight of the ten respondents identified as African American, one identified as White and one identifying as other. Participant acknowledged cultural sensitivity training in formal education should be required for teachers. Responses showed teachers having biases from one’s personal view, teachers’ inability to identify abuse/neglect versus cultural differences and additional stories showing frivolous complaints made to child protection services involving families from marginalized populations due to cultural insensitivity. A few ways can be introduced to counter systemic issues, racism, and biases from impacting referrals made to child welfare. Such as teachers receiving mandatory diversity training, or teaching programs equipping teachers with the tools to successfully meet the needs of diverse populations. It was also recommended that existing programs be restructured.