During Black History Month we have taken a look back at the many ways in which Californians have worked during the past two decades to transform the Child Welfare System, and we are pleased to acknowledge the gains that have been made by county staff who participated in the following strategic approaches:

  • The Breakthrough Collaborative Series that addressed disproportionate representation and disparate outcomes for Black children and their families,
  • The California Partners for Permanency Project, which addressed issues of Black and American Indian youths’ excessive lengths of stay and struggles to achieve permanency,
  • Team Meetings that have engaged families and their representatives in developing meaningful case plans
  • Cultural Brokers that support families in their interactions with the Child Welfare System

Participants in these strategies have made a difference by helping us to more thoroughly analyze data, to include the voice of individual families and to solicit the input of communities that are impacted by the Child Welfare System.  These efforts and others have helped us build awareness of the need to move beyond efforts such as cultural competence training to becoming a state where counties are focused on manifesting cultural humility and acknowledging the family as an authority that is able to provide invaluable insights into decision making about its future.

Many of the strategies enumerated above can now be seen in our new ways of being, doing and thinking; these new ways are reflected in the California Child Welfare Core Practice Model (CPM), as well as in the multi-agency Integrated Core Practice Model. As the CPM continues to evolve with input from Child Welfare Directors, trainers and other partners, we are proud to say that during this Black History Month 2021, we are both honoring and acknowledging the month and also taking bold steps to address issues of Race, Equity and Inclusion as these impact Black families involved with the Child Welfare System. The Child and Family Policy Institute of California has been pleased to lead conversations among the state’s Child Welfare Directors, who are engaged in reviewing and addressing dominant culture characteristics (also known as White supremacy culture characteristics) and learning how to deploy antidotes to these characteristics.  These antidotes are linked to CPM leadership behaviors and are therefore integrated into the on-going work of Child Welfare Directors as they work with their staff and communities. We know that the road ahead is long but are we proud of the steps that have been taken in the state to make the Child Welfare System a more equitable one for Black children and their families.