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Press Release  
Release Date: Thursday, October 3, 2013 1:47 PM
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Media Contact:
Sholnn Freeman
Communications Specialist
Howard School of Social Work Receives Kellogg Foundation Grant
to Study Racial Disparities in Child Welfare Systems

WASHINGTON (June 3, 2013) – The Howard University School of Social Work has received a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to evaluate the effectiveness of racial equality standards in countering the overrepresentation of African Americans in child welfare systems.

Ruby M. Gourdine, D.S.W., and Jacqueline M. Smith, Ph.D., are co-principal investigators on the $75,000 grant. The grant will fund the evaluation of child welfare procedures in two states where Black children are overrepresented. The grant period runs from April 2013 to March 2014

“The rate of African-American children in the child welfare system remains disproportionate to their numbers in the general population,” Gourdine said. “Too many African-American children are removed from their homes and efforts should be made to eliminate risk faced by children in fragile families in need of intervention services.”

Studies have shown that some of the reasons African-American children are removed from their homes involve poverty, racism and a lack of cultural competency. For these reasons there may be a lack of understanding of how Black families parent and cope. Gourdine said when considering the cases of African-American children child welfare professionals often overlook alternatives to a child entering state custody, such kinship care and/ or services designed to improve parenting skills and access to resources.

These agencies selected for the study have received training on racial equality standards from the advocacy organization Black Administrators in Child Welfare (BACW), which augment the established standards required by the Council on Accreditation (COA) which is the accrediting body for child welfare agencies. Gourdine and Smith will evaluate whether implementation of the BACW standards have been effective.

About the W. K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit


Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

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