Latino families and the public child welfare system: Examining the role of social support networks

Cecilia Ayón

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The number of Latino families involved with the public child welfare system has increased exponentially in the last decade. This qualitative study examined one of this population's inherent resources - their social network - and the role it plays when involved with the public child welfare system. Findings reveal that Latino families rely heavily on their network for emotional support, advice/information, and advocacy. Often parents received incorrect or conflicting information or advice grounded on experiences that were very different from the participant's case. In addition, their networks are homophilous; that is, limited to people who are in their same circumstances which limits their ability to access formal sources of advocacy and support. Many parents were also genuinely interested in helping other parents with open cases. Practice recommendations are made as it relates to actively engaging Latino families in their case process and supporting Latino families by incorporating their networks and genuine interest in helping others into child welfare service delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2061-2066
Number of pages6
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Advocacy
  • Child welfare
  • Latino immigrant families
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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