What We Work For
We work to eliminate systemic biases that unfairly damage certain populations, in partnership with the systems themselves.
Child welfare systems across the country are striving to keep children safe and to help them live with a loving, permanent family (their own whenever possible). These public systems are judged by—and accountable to—the federal government, state legislatures, communities, and frequently lawsuits and consent decrees. There are myriad reasons why these systems don’t meet the needs of those they serve as often as they should but failures are often rooted in institutional policies, practices, and biases that inhibit caseworkers from effectively assisting children and families.
How We Do It
We partner with local public systems to use a structured qualitative methodology to identify how institutions of child welfare or juvenile justice could work more effectively for families, with a particular focus on families of color.
Investigative teams apply qualitative tools and analysis to examine institutional features that influence how cases are processed—and thus may contribute to racial and ethnic disproportionality and disparity or inequities related to sexual orientation and gender identity. The Institutional Analysis (IA) can help assess current—and develop new—assumptions, concepts, theories, practices, policies, procedures, and initiatives and serve as an organizing tool to improve coordination and working relationships and mobilize joint action among intervening agencies and the communities they serve.
When implicit biases are brought to the surface and eliminated through careful, collaborative work, public systems can adjust structural and institutional policies and practices to better support the communities they serve.