Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We are an agency of change-makers, driven by equitable impact
The Coalition advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion in child welfare by implementing research-driven programs that help close systemic gaps and barriers in permanency and stability for youth and children impacted by foster care.
We integrate cultural competency into every decision-making moment for our children and families. We recognize the power we hold as a resource-bearing organization that directly services communities facing lack and need.
We do not underestimate our role in eradicating implicit and explicit bias in our community and organization! We refuse to contribute to the legacy of systematic oppression within our nation, state, city, and community.
Painting the picture
It is not lost on us that marginalized communities have experienced disenfranchisement due to decades of policy entrenched with systemic racism, bias, prejudice, and economic injustice. The result of this is evident in which communities have resources and opportunities. Although our nation is making incredible strides in closing gaps in equity, there still is tremendous work to do, especially in child welfare.
By the numbers:
- Twice the number of Black children are placed in foster care compared to White children.
- Black children remain in foster care nearly a year longer than their White counterparts.
- 1 in 3 children in foster care nationally identify as LGBTQIA+.
How we make a difference
In 2020 we reimagined how we include diversity, equity, and inclusion work at the forefront of our mission. We critically re-examined the cultural landscape of our organization.
We dared to ask the questions necessary to remain accountable
- As a community-based organization with resources, how can we use our privilege to better empower our children, youth, and families from various social-economic statuses, racial and ethnic identities, genders, sexual orientations, and abilities?
- How can we more effectively uproot inequity, bias, and institutional racism within child welfare policies and programs?
- Does the Coalition physically represent the community we serve?
- Do we lead with empathy when assessing every unique case we receive?
We decided to implement the following strategy
- Create a cultural competency task force, RESPOND, which recruits Black foster and adoptive parents and provides new foster and adoptive parents with cultural competency training to meet the unique needs of foster children from diverse backgrounds.
- Prioritize placing foster children of diverse backgrounds with relatives to improve life outcomes.
- Enhance workplace training surrounding DEI.
- Hire DEI consultants.
- Build internal networks for connection via affinity groups.
- Offer affirming and accepting care to LGBTQIA+ youth.
How we champion diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace
The Coalition is founded on trust, built with empathy, and structured to harness the infinite power diversity brings. Our focus lies in cultivating an environment that encourages individuals to embrace their authentic selves and have their perspectives acknowledged and respected. We are devoted to creating a culture of inclusion within our organization.
Our staff participates in diversity, equity, and inclusion training facilitated by Dr. Nikkia Young. She provides a guided forum to discuss racial trauma, racial triangulation, microaggressions, allyship, and other pertinent topics needed to cultivate a space of resilience, awareness, and healing within our workspace. Staff can also meet in affinity groups to further digest and dissect topics discussed in the staff-wide group.
In addition, the coalition recently partnered with the Youth Acceptance Project of Family Builders by Adoption to tackle issues related to stressors surrounding a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity/expression (SOGIE). Vida Khavar leads specialized SOGIE training for staff members to ensure everyone is well-equipped to handle these sensitive situations with care and understanding.
Our commitment to diversity is not only evident in our conscious efforts to recruit and hire the most qualified individuals, but also in recognizing the invaluable contributions that diverse cultures and lived experiences bring to our organization.
By embracing a diverse workforce, we empower ourselves to fulfill our mission with greater effectiveness and creativity. The varied perspectives and backgrounds of our staff enable us to develop innovative programs that have not only transformed child welfare but have also positively impacted the lives of countless individuals.
Through our unwavering dedication to diversity, we are continuously reshaping the landscape of child welfare and striving for a more inclusive society.
85% of staff are women.
55% of staff are people of color.
Future innovation in cultural competency
Our work to create a more equitable society for future generations is ongoing and does not stop here! We commit to continuing our work by constantly expanding our knowledge and awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion and implementing strategies that yield positive results. At the heart of our organization lies a profound commitment to transforming the lives of the most marginalized members of our community. We recognize the weight of responsibility that comes with our mission and hold ourselves accountable to achieving tangible and meaningful outcomes.
Children’s Bureau Champion Award For Advancing Equity
Interview with Rossi Summers, COO
In April, the Coalition was honored by the United States Health and Human Services with their 2023 Children’s Bureau Champion Award for our work to advance equity in our local child welfare system. The Coalition strives to find permanency for children entering foster care with incomparable urgency. We also prioritize placing Black children with culturally competent families fully equipped to support them. Because of these efforts, we were recognized as a “shining example of leadership, innovation, and service excellence” for our groundbreaking programs, such as Extreme Recruitment® and 30 Days to Family®. We are honored to receive the 2023 Children’s Bureau Champion Award while also recognizing that our work dismantling inequity in foster care does not end here!