Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work


Given that U.S. history documents the severing of African-American family ties by isolating parents from each other and their children under slavery, it is imperative that the child welfare system be free of any echoes of that holocaust. Yet many scholars and practitioners who lament negative racial attitude, both implicit and explicit, may continue to contribute to the over-representation of African-American children in the U.S. child welfare system. This study proposes to examine a subcategory of practitioner attitudes, those about the caregivers’ race, and how those attitudes can be altered through a reflective educational experience. Drawing from pre-existing research about how social work practitioners’ beliefs, attitudes and perceptions are factors in decision-making (Belsky, 1991; Benbenishty, Osmo & Gold, 2003; Gambrill, 2005; Portwood, 1998; Ards, Myers, Ray, Kim, Monroe, & Arteaga, 2012), and attitudinal theory in particular (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975), this study will expand existing theory and contribute to improving child welfare practice. The Solomon Four-Group Design will be utilized to examine the effect of the intervention, Knowing Your Lens: Awareness Training (KYLAT), on an anticipated 240 social work practitioners’ individual racial attitude. The Color Blind Racial Attitudes Scale (CoBRAS) will measure racialized attitudes during pre and posttests. The findings of this study have policy, practice, and educational implications and can point towards ways to reduce negative implicit and explicit bias in decision-making with African American families who remain disproportionally represented in the child welfare system.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.