A new report commissioned by ABFE that directly challenges commonly held perceptions of the “the Black family.”
The report examines three issues that have a substantial impact on Black families and Black communities -- foster care, fatherhood and identity development.
“Family Matters is a must read for not only grantmakers but for policymakers and family and child advocates alike,” said Susan Taylor Batten, ABFE’s President and CEO. “The investment strategies and recommendations outlined in this report offer important lessons and advice for those of us concerned with the well-being of Black families."
In the report, Dr. David Sanders, Executive Vice President for System Improvement at Seattle-based Casey Family Programs offers an analysis of the challenges facing children in the child welfare system, and recommends that “philanthropy draw a web of support and services around our most vulnerable families to help them address crisis and stressors that, if left unattended, can overwhelm and put them at risk of having their children taken away.”
Family Matters underscores several findings for how philanthropy and the public sector can improve supports to fathers including:
1. Funding research efforts and piloting more innovative program development that goes to the intricacies of today’s families, and their different shapes and sizes; and
2. Embedding employment supports in current and future program offerings, because low-income fathers often cannot financially contribute, which encourages father-absence.
Lastly, Family Matters explores how notions of gender, masculinity and sexual identity in Black communities interact with normative notions of family, and how that interplay is relevant to funders seeking to strengthen Black communities. The authors examine recent pioneering work in anti-homophobic and anti-patriarchal forms of masculinity and articulate new models of manhood that attempt to bridge youth culture and the insights contributed by LGBT and feminist scholarship.
Alvin Starks, Philanthropic Strategist and Advisor and former Senior Program Officer at Arcus Foundation, elaborates on the need to expand on our society’s narrow conceptions of family, particularly in Black communities. “When we think about family constructions we also need to think about what we usually call community. Often, when people think about family they go into the mother-father-child discussion, which eliminates the overwhelming majority of Black people,” said Mr. Starks.
Family Matters concludes with sobering statistical data on philanthropy’s underinvestment in Black-led institutions, and the way in which it undermines the efforts on behalf of Black families and Black institutions highlighted in the report.
Family Matters is available to current ABFE Members. To read the full report please login with your ABFE member password.
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