Advocacy, Community, Education & Services

At the center of the ABSWGLA public programming and services are advocacy, community, and education services. Here are some of the highlights throughout the years. 

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Transracial Adoptions & Institute of Black Parenting  

Transracial Adoptions & Institute of Black Parenting. In 1972, the National Association of Black Social Work (NABSW) challenged the practice of transracial adoption, expressing concerns that such adoptions compromised the child's racial and cultural identity. Transracial adoption made it difficult for Black families to qualify to adopt their own children.

In 1976 ABSWGLA established the Institute for the Study of Black Parenting as a social service component of the chapter. ABSWGLA provided parenting classes to families referred by the court system after charges of abuse and neglect by the Department of Children and Family Services.  They also recruited foster parents from the Black community. In 1988, the state of California provided funding to support the newly named Institute of Black Parenting (IBP) to become the first licensed minority adoption agency in Southern California and grew from ABSWGLA as a separate community-based non-profit organization. In 1995, the Institute was selected to be the lead agency in Los Angeles County to provide family preservation services. The institute gained state and national success as ABSWGLA members Zena Oglesby and Elma Stewart were invited to serve on a State Commission on Children and Families in Sacramento, CA.  Zena Oglesby and Cynthia Willard were invited to Washington DC to be recognized for their work with Black Families and adoptions.  

Advocacy & Community Education Efforts 

ABSWGLA engaged in advocacy and community education: 

  • ABSW challenged legislation related to licensing requirements for social workers. The arguments against professional licensure involved cultural bias in the exam; focus on clinical work which negated the importance of community organizing and macro social work practice, performed by Black social workers. As a result, it created barriers for licensure among Black Swers

  • Once licensure was passed by the State, several members of ABSW committed themselves to preparing Black social workers to pass the Licensing Clinical Social Worker Exam 


  • ABSW members continued to support professional education by offering conferences and forums that provided continuing education units to licensed Black Social workers.


  • For several years ABSWGLA prepared a directory of agencies providing services in the South Central Los Angeles area. This was a valuable resource for social work professionals and the community at large seeking services and instrumental support for clients.

Community Forums & Conferences 

ABSWGLA developed programming at the international, national, state, and local levels. One of the most notable is the 1974 National Conference which Angela Davis and Frances Wellesley were keynote speakers. Community forums, conferences, and workshops covered a wide range of topics such as: 

  • Gentrification
  • Sex Trafficking
  • Women’s Sexual Health 
  • HIV 
  • Policing in the Black Community
Advocacy, Community, Education & Services