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  • Conversations can be challenging and knowing what to do or say can be even more challenging.
  • However, don’t assume that your teams aren’t already having conversations.
  • Provide opportunities to share not only what they’re thinking, but what they’re feeling. Let people know we’ll all be safe, but we won’t necessarily be comfortable in our discussions.
  • It’s in our most uncomfortable times where we have the greatest opportunity to grow and change.
  • Role Model listening to authentic voices—those with lived experience.
  • Be Honest.


  • As you look around your agencies, ask yourself if your leadership team and board of directors are reflective of the communities you serve.
  • Make a commitment to ongoing Leadership Development by creating intentional pathways for people of color
  • Develop a Mentorship or Internal Fellowship Program to increase the opportunities for young people of color to be guided, supported and encouraged into positions of leadership.


  • Invite traditional and non-traditional partners to join in your anti-racism work.
  • Consider how you can invite mental health, education, juvenile/family courts and/or other child welfare agencies to join your work.
  • Consider how you can invite non-traditional partners, such as vendors, business partners, event sponsors, volunteers and/or funders to join your work.
  • Invite young people of color into your individual professional network: connect to discuss personal, career and organizational goals and challenges.


  • Ask your service recipients and staff to review your Policies and Practices to identify bias or inequities.
  • Examples may include foster youth, kinship caretakers, biological families receiving prevention services, and families receiving treatment family care services.
  • Reach down into the frontlines of service delivery to hear feedback from staff teams.
  • Implement changes to Policies and Practices based on these recommendations.
  • Recognize and give credit to contributors of Policy and Practice changes
  • Develop and implement systems for ongoing reviews & review of new Policies and Practices.


  • Take the Implicit Association Test on Race, by Project Implicit through Harvard University, to better understand our own biases.
  • Encourage teams and staff members to also take the Implicit Association Test.
  • Discuss insights and learning from the test.
  • Develop your own Individual Action Plan (IAP) with goals and actions you’ll take to improve areas where you may have bias.
  • Encourage and provide space for your teams and staff members to create their own IAPs.


  • Create opportunities for your service recipients and your staff to contribute to your organization’s public policy platform. This could be done through town halls, one-to-one outreach, tools such as surveys, or open forums for providing on-going feedback for policy advocacy using tools such as your organization’s website.
  • Be intentional about seeking out input and creating opportunities for people of color to shape the platform.
  • Support Voter Registration efforts for service recipients and staff by hosting registration events. Also, ensure your staff are not only provided an opportunity to vote in local, state and national elections, but encourage them to do so by sending reminders, discussing during team/staff meetings and making it easy for them to do so.


  • Lead a Privilege Walk as a way to help others understand privilege certain groups may have, as well as structural limitations that are placed on others.
  • This activity provides an experiential learning opportunity that can be safely implemented using Social Distancing.
  • Consider using this exercise with youth, staff members and other community partners.


  • Host a Book Club or Reading Group.
  • Establish a cohort of youth, staff, foster parents and/or others to read a selected book together over 30 Days.
  • Facilitate weekly discussions (virtual discussions will work too) over sections of the book.
  • If done virtually, encourage members to utilize “chat” to share ideas and questions, if more comfortable in doing so. If meeting in person, give members the opportunity to put thoughts or questions on a note card for discussion.
  • The shared journey of reading, learning, discussing and being challenged in our thinking from reading the book TOGETHER is where our greatest growth and change will come.

  • Suggested adult books: How to Be an Anti-Racist, by Ibram X. Kendi; White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, by Robin Diangelo; Challenging Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare: Research, Policy, and Practice, Edited by Deborah K. Green, Kathleen Belanger, Ruth G. McRoy, and Lloyd Bullard

    Suggested children’s books: SULWE, by Lupita Nyong'o; No!: My First Book of Protest, by Julie Merberg; Woke! A Young Poet's Call to Justice, by Mahogany L. Browne



  • Consider selecting 5-15 minute video clips and watch as a group via Zoom or Facetime with staff, foster parents and other community partners, and facilitate a discussion afterwards.
  • Longer videos can be shared with participants and watched on their own, followed up by a facilitated discussion as a group.

    Two Videos to get you started include:
    How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them
    How to be An Anti-Racist



  • Disaggregate client outcome data by race to examine how youth of different races are fairing on key child/family outcomes.
  • This examination should consider various points of service delivery such as: entry into services, safety incidents, treatment benchmarks, program components such as family engagement, discharge/termination of services, and other well-being measures.
  • This data should be a regular reporting item on organizational dashboards and part of the organization’s ongoing planning and program improvement efforts.

Download the "10 Things Big and Small" PDF for your team

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