Collage of diverse people in daily life.

Data for Equity and Action

Leveraging identity data as a tool for advancing equity and justice

What We Work For

The goal of this project is to share best practices for collecting data about race, ethnicity, and other demographic information including sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE); national origin; language spoken; disability; religion; and tribal affiliation in child welfare agencies nationwide.

Accurate and nuanced data collection is an important step in developing targeted strategies to reduce disparities and ensure young people and families are affirmed in their identities and are served in ways that best meet their needs. This project provides guidance for equitable data practice ranging from how caseworkers and service providers can ask families and young people about their racial and ethnic identities in more accurate, inclusive, and affirming ways, to how system leaders and data administrators can better report and incorporate that information to support them. The Data for Equity and Action Lab is an opportunity to work with a handful of jurisdictions to operationalize best practice and grow collective capacity to leverage data as a tool to advance equity.

This project was co-designed and implemented in partnership with a parent and a young person with lived experience with the child welfare system.

All of the products in the “Resource” tab were developed with significant input from young people with lived experience in foster care, parents, and caregivers with lived experience with the child welfare system, caseworkers, and data administrators. Their perspectives and experiences were invaluable to identifying gaps in policy and practice and guiding the development of the resources. An infographic describing the methodology and findings for the first phase of this project, entitled Our Identities, Ourselves, can be found here.

Lisa Mishraky-Javier, Senior Associate, CSSP

Lisa Mishraky-Javier
Senior Associate, CSSP





Ali Jawetz Senior Policy Analyst, CSSP

Ali Jawetz
Senior Policy Analyst, CSSP





Michelle Chan, Founder and Director, California Families Rise

Barbara Alcena
Social Worker





Barbara Alcena, Social Worker

Michelle Chan
Founder and Director,
California Families Rise

Our Identities Ourselves Literature Review

An Anti-Racist Review on Collecting Accurate Data on Race and Ethnicity
This literature review provides a synthesis of the research on best practices for collecting, analyzing and using comprehensive demographic data within child welfare systems. 

Download here




Our Identities, Ourselves Frontline Workers Final

A Guide to Anti-Racist Data Collection for Case Workers and Other Frontline Staff
This guide serves as a tool for case workers and frontline staff in collecting demographic data from young people and families. It includes best practices for data collection, a sample script and a list of questions to engage young people and families in discussions about their identities.

Download here




Poster Our Identities, Ourselves A Guide To Anti Racist Data Collection For Case Workers And Other Frontline StaffA Poster Guide to Anti-Racist Data Collection for Case Workers and Other Frontline Staff 

This one-page, printable poster provide at-a-glance tips for collecting data, talking with youth and families, and starting conversations, highlighting the most salient information in A Guide to Anti-Racist Data Collection for Case Workers. Note: printable size is 11″ x 17″.

Download here





Our Identities, Ourselves Guide For System Administrators Final A Guide to Anti-Racist Data Collection for: System Leaders and Data Administrators
This guide offers guiding principles and best practices for applying a anti-racist and equity focused lens to data collection, analysis, usage and reporting within child welfare systems.

Download here




Know Your Rights Guide

Our Identities, Ourselves: Rights Guide for Young People and Families
This guide serves as a tool for young people and families in understanding their rights when asked questions about their identities. It also includes responses to common questions asked by young people and families related to data collection and usage.

Download here




Our Identities Ourselve Anti Racist Guidelines For Collecting Data On Race And Ethnicity

Our Identities, Ourselves: Anti-Racist Guidelines for Collecting Data on Race and Ethnicity—Webinar
In this webinar, learn best practices and tools for centering equity and constituent voice in data collection, analysis, reporting, and use. Topics explored included: the best ways to capture race and ethnicity within data systems; how frontline workers can better ask nonjudgmental questions about young people and families’ identities throughout the life of a case; how system leaders can ensure that data collected is used to advance equity.

Listen here


The Center for the Study of Social Policy, in partnership with Casey Family Programs is launching the Data for Equity and Action (D4EA) Lab to strategize with child welfare jurisdictions about how to collect, analyze and use demographic data to advance equity. In the information we shared:

  • An overview of the D4EA Lab;
  • benefits of participating;
  • application process; and
  • logistics.

View the presentation slides here and the recording here

Over the next 12 months, CSSP will host and facilitate a national peer learning and exchange workgroup focused on leveraging valid and affirming demographic data as a tool to advance equity within child welfare systems. Jurisdictions will meet monthly starting July 2022 through July 2023 and will:

  • Grow capacity to collect, analyze, report, and use demographic information (including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, Tribal affiliation, nationality, among other identify markers);
  • Connect with peers and experts across the country;
  • Build collective knowledge in and skills on how to leverage demographic data to advance equity;
  • Engage in curated learning sessions that highlight best practices; and
  • Center equity, intersectionality, and anti-racism across strategies.