New Training Helps Child Protection Workers Examine and Address Implicit Racial Bias

(Washington, DC) September 10, 2019—The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity are pleased to announce the release of inSIGHT: A Workshop on Implicit Racial Bias for Child Protection Workers. This unique curriculum combines a series of online, digital modules with an in-person training tailored to the needs of specific child protection agencies. The digital modules are designed to provide an introduction to implicit racial bias, allowing all participants to start the training with a similar knowledge base. The tailored in-person training is designed by expert facilitators based on the needs of individual jurisdictions, and is intended to be a curated, immersive experience unique to each community. 

The inSIGHT curriculum is designed to create a space for child protection workers to explore and learn how to mitigate their own individual implicit racial biases, thereby developing stronger skills in dealing with clients and cases. Implicit racial bias is the unconscious attribution of particular qualities to a member of a certain social group. It is something that all people have and which can negatively affect interactions between groups if not properly examined and addressed. The online modules can be completed within 1-2 hours, while the in-person training is one full day.

“The inSIGHT curriculum offers an opportunity for participants to learn about and reflect on the implicit biases that each of us has, and get a better understanding of how they can often unconsciously impact our attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs,” said Juanita Gallion, Deputy Director of Equity and Learning at CSSP. “We all live with implicit biases and it is critical to examine and learn how to mitigate them. This is particularly important for child protection workers, whose day-to-day work puts them in touch with a broad variety of people and lived experiences, and they—like many other front-line workers—make decisions that can have a lasting impact on the lives of children and families.”

In a pilot test of inSIGHT, 100% of participants said that they could now explain how disparity and disproportionality in child protection outcomes may be related to implicit racial bias AND how that implicit racial bias could create such unintended outcomes. In addition, as a result of the training:

  • 100% of participants said that they became more aware of their own implicit racial biases and have sought to mitigate them.
  • 100% of participants began recognizing triggers that activated implicit racial bias, such as stress, tiredness, etc.
  • 90% of participants began engaging in conversations with others about implicit racial bias.

“I enjoyed the training,” said one participant in the pilot test. “[It] gave me time for self-reflection and I was empowered by the knowledge of the staff involved, both the trainers and [my colleagues].”

The inSIGHT curriculum was modeled on existing work developed by the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity based at the Ohio State University, designed to help participants in the field of K-12 education to explore and understand the origins of implicit bias and its impact on educational outcomes for young people. The core curriculum has been adapted and tailored to focus on implicit bias in child protection specifically through the expertise of CSSP staff. We are grateful to this collaborative partnership with that allowed us to co-create the inSIGHT curriculum.

“Though societal transformation is necessary to achieve true racial equity, these modules are designed to equip and empower individuals and teams in child welfare to do their most equitable work while grappling with the historical and contemporary realities of how structural racism and implicit bias produce unjustly disparate outcomes for youth,” said Lena Tenney, Coordinator of Public Engagement, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.

inSIGHT: Exploring Implicit Bias in ChildProtection was funded in part by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. We thank them for their support but acknowledge that the findings and conclusions presented in this curriculum are those of CSSP alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Foundation.

Click here to view the inSIGHT: A Workshop on Implicit Bias for Child Protection Workers; to learn more or to explore bringing the in-person workshop to your community, please email us at A limited number of reduced-cost pilot workshops are available for sites with budget constraints; please email us to explore options.

About CSSP. The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) works to achieve a racially, economically, and socially just society in which all children, youth, and families thrive. We translate ideas into action, promote public policies grounded in equity, and support strong and inclusive communities. We advocate with and for all children, youth, and families marginalized by public policies and institutional practices. Learn more at

About Kirwan. The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity is an interdisciplinary engaged research institute at The Ohio State University. Kirwan’s goal is to connect individuals and communities with opportunities needed for thriving by educating the public, building the capacity of allied social justice organizations, and investing in efforts that support equity and inclusion. Learn more at