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2001 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 6, No. 2
May 2001

Don't Overlook Strengths In Black Families Headed By Single Parents

"Because of broadly accepted cultural assumptions that urban, single-parent households are much more likely to be weak and dysfunctional, single black mothers regularly bear the full brunt of child welfare intervention, charges Esmeralda Simmons, executive director for the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. She says policy makers and child protection officials need to understand that black families are far more flexible and resourceful—even in times of stress and adversity—than is conventionally believed. "Our definition of family includes extended family, our children's friends, elder siblings as the head of the household—all of this is acceptable, and it is a major strength of families at risk" (Child Welfare Watch, 1998).

Source: Child Welfare Watch. (1998, Spring/Summer). Introduction: The race factor in child welfare, Child Welfare Watch, 3. <>