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Abstract

In this article, the authors consider the socio-historical conceptions of childhood in relation to Black children and their unique relationship with child welfare institutions. Against this background we apply models of childhood to issues of race and social agency and argue that these elements have been inadequately addressed in developmental models of childhood. Following these concerns, we present a social model of childhood and consider how these distinct and different ways of understanding children might be applied to child welfare practice. This child centered approach presents a unique opportunity to incorporate the differential positioning of Black children in the wider society by engaging with their everyday lives as a frameworkfor child welfare practice. This framework allows for a greater participation of children and specifically, Black children in decision making processes. In the final section we suggest possible outcomes of integrating this approach into child welfare practice.

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