Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Lanesskog, Deirdre. Ph.D., M.P.A


The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of social workers’ knowledge and experience in working with mixed race youth and families. The literature review suggested that biracial and multiracial individuals struggle with identity issues, along with several barriers that affect their interactions with social workers, and the social workers’ abilities to provide services for mixed race clients. The literature review also discussed the public's perception of social workers in dealing with minorities, most of which included the notion that social workers are biased. The literature review also discussed the use of technology in child welfare, and inaccuracies that can occur when utilizing a technological database.

The study used a qualitative, exploratory design. The data was obtained from face-to-face interviews with 15 social worker participants who have worked with mixed race families in some capacity. The participants were current employees of a child welfare agency for a California county. The interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide designed by the researchers. The researchers found that social workers' knowledge and experience in working with mixed race youth and family can be summarized in three themes: professional responsibility to mixed race clients, divergent approaches to identifying race and ethnicity, and challenges in documenting information within the database. Based on these findings, the researchers suggest implications for social work practice, policy, and research. The researchers recommend enhanced trainings in practice for cultural sensitivity, awareness, and humility, and updates in the database including the addition of multiracial and biracial categories. These changes have the potential to improve services for and research on mixed race youth and families in child welfare.

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Social Work Commons