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Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare

What is the Alliance for Racial Equity?

The Alliance for Racial Equity provides national leadership in support of improved outcomes for children and families of color involved with the nation's child welfare system. In many jurisdictions, outcomes for children and families of color who are served by the child welfare system are not what the families, child welfare administrators or policymakers would want them to be. The Alliance is committed to taking action to improve these outcomes in the context of our underlying commitment to improved outcomes for all children and families receiving child welfare services. 

The Alliance is guided by a coalition of national organizations, state and local leaders, judges, researchers, practitioners, policymakers and advocates who have directly experienced the child welfare system. Through this national network of committed partners, the Alliance engages a broad cross-section of organizations, agencies and systems that touch the lives of children and families involved with child welfare. 

Since its formation in 2004, the Alliance has assisted in raising the visibility of equity issues in child welfare. These efforts have included direct consultation with state and local child welfare agencies to test innovative strategies, analysis and reporting on current research about the nature, causes and consequences of racial disparities in child welfare and the development of data tools to enable jurisdictions to better track their progress in achieving better outcomes. Reflecting a fundamental Alliance value, each of these efforts has been directly informed and shaped by youth, parents and other family members with direct experience with the child welfare system.

Current Initiatives

Social Service Administrator Network

The Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare has formed the Social Service Administrators Racial Equity Network to facilitate information sharing and strategy building among a community of child welfare and social service administrators committed to achieving equity for children and families involved with public systems.

Through this network, child welfare and social service administrators dissect the range of effective policies and system improvement strategies that promote racial equity and improved outcomes for children and families of color. The network includes thought leaders and administrators from social service and human service systems, as each of these broader systems provides critically important supports and services.

Young Women and Girls of Color
  • Through the Fight for Our Girls series, the Center for the Study of Social Policy's (CSSP) Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare seeks to radically shift the narrative surrounding girls of color and status offenses from a focus on deliquency and misbehavior to structural discrimination, trauma and youth well-being. Released over the next year, the series of briefs will promote programs, policies and initiatives aimed at developing a trauma-informed approach to addressing status offenses and supporting the ability of girls of color to thrive.
    • Read the first brief here.
    • Read the second report here
  • Check out our new Fight for Our Girls video
Accelerating Change Award and Network

Young women and girls of color — especially those involved in public systems like child welfare and juvenile justice — face a unique and alarming trajectory that puts them at risk of poor outcomes in life. To uplift organizations, programs and practices that interrupt that trajectory, the CSSP instituted the Accelerating Change Award.

On September 26, 2017, CSSP announced three winners of the 2017 Accelerating Change Award. In addition to national recognition for their innovative initiatives, the three recipients will be part of an Accelerating Change Network. The awardees have each demonstrated a commitment to reaching and serving diverse populations of cisgender and transgender young women and girls of color who are involved or at high risk of involvement in public systems and creating opportunities for their well-being and success.

The 2017 Accelerating Change Award recipients are:
  • Gwen's Girls, a Pittsburgh-based organization that empowers girls and young women to have productive lives through holistic, gender-specific programs, education and experiences.
  • Pathways PA, a residential program, headquartered in Holmes, Pa., that guides homeless and runaway young women and girls by providing programming and services.
  • Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, a research-based organization in Jacksonville, Fl. that provides an advocacy platform to address the policies, processes and practices that result in the disparate treatment of young women and girls.
Past recipients of the Accelerating Change Award include:
  • ROCA, Inc. High Risk Young Mother's Program, a Boston-based organization that targets underserved young women age 16 to 24 who are either pregnant or single parents and connects them with individualized programming, educational opportunities, parenting classes and employment programming.
  • PACE Center for Girls, a research-based nonresidential program model, headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., that features a balanced emphasis on academics and social services and a safe environment for middle and high-school-aged girls.
  • Young Women's Project, an organization in Washington, D.C., that guides youth, with a special focus on teen women and youth in the foster care system, throuhg a process of personal transformation so they can become leaders in their peer groups, schools, families and communities.
  • viBe Theater Experience, a New York City-based arts program that empowers underserved teenage girls to write and perform original theater, video and music about the real-life issues they face daily.
  • My Life and My Choice, a Boston organization that works to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of adolescents through survivor-led programs that educate and empower youth to find their voice and create a positive life path. 
All Accelerating Change Award recipients join a network convened by the Alliance to promote peer learning, leadership and improved outcomes for young women and girls of color.

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