The child welfare system is intended to be one of the final social safety nets to support children and families in crisis. However, despite the best efforts of reformers and practitioners, the racism and bias embedded in the system from its founding have led to rigid policies that are often more focused on compliance and surveillance than healing and support. Children of color, and specifically Black and Native American children, continue to experience disparities at every stage of the child welfare system. The time for transformational change is now.
Reimagining a racially just and equitable child welfare system requires thoughtful, difficult conversations that acknowledge past and current systems, as well as innovative thinking to envision the future. The Path to Racial Equity in Child Welfare: Valuing Family and Community policy summit, co-hosted by the Alliance for Children’s Rights, Children’s Law Center of California, Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers, and the UCLA Pritzker Center on February 26, 2021, features a unique blend of expert discussions, family stories, policy development, and inspirational vision.
The intent is to, in collaboration with community partners and thought leaders, build on recent conversations about racism and bias in child welfare and move forward with policy recommendations that value family and community through prevention strategies, empower the family network, and prioritize family decision making when considering permanency and reunification.
The summit will include two panel discussions. The first, “Experiencing the Child Welfare System,” will include a young person, parent, and kin caregiver who will share their experiences with racism and bias in the child welfare system. The second panel, “Reforming the Child Welfare System,” will include the experiences of those who are actively working to reform the system from within, including a judge, social worker, and attorneys. The morning session will conclude with a presentation by Dr. Jessica Pryce, Director of the Florida Institute of Child Welfare, on achieving anti-racist systems change. During the afternoon session, attendees will break out into facilitated discussion groups to provide feedback about the policy recommendations outlined in the draft report.
A final policy report with proposed reforms will be published on our site following the summit.