The investigation and assessment of black children and their families is a complex and controversial issue for social workers and their managers. The needs of black families are too often viewed as 'the same' as for white families. The result is that some black families can find social work intervention to be an overzealous intrusion and a marginalization of black family life through a colour-blind approach. This viewpoint has the effect of social workers making a misassessment of child abuse, possibly with subsequent devastating outcomes for children and families. It could be stated that many teachers find the task of dealing with child abuse stressful and unpleasant. Black social workers employed in child protection work can be made to feel powerless by the establishment when dealing with child abuse work. Black children can be substantially deprived of their heritage and exposed to abuse of a covert and overt type from staff and other residents.