Session 1: Strengthening Families Using a Racial Equity Lens

Data has consistently revealed to us that our foster care system, although well-intentioned, has created harm to many of the families we sought to help, and the harm inflicted on families of color is being uncovered more and more each day. This training will begin with a discussion of how history and policy has shaped our system. By creating an awareness of the infrastructure of our system, this training will illuminate the implications of not pursuing meaningful reform. We’ll examine power and privilege and how we can share that power with families, thereby empowering their protective factors. Participants will be challenged to consider their own mindset and learn practical ways to create accountability within our organizations.

There are social justice champions working tirelessly in child welfare to build anti-racist systems which strengthen our most vulnerable families, and we will explore these strategies. Based on literature and various frameworks, we’ll discuss how our system would function after it has had true and meaningful systemic change, with courageous leadership serving as a catalyst for revolutionary change in organizational mindset. We’ll also explore community-level strategies that are driving change around the country. We will conclude the training by discussing what it means for our entire system to evolve into one which develops courageous professionals who positively impact children and their families.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand multiple levels of racism and historical context and origin
  • Understand and articulate the impact of implicit bias in child welfare organizations and practice
  • Learn power-balancing strategies
  • Define and understand disparity vs. disproportionality
  • Understand importance of family connection and sacredness of family ties
  • Learn anti-racist advocacy
  • Understand the repercussions of family separation for vulnerable families of color
  • Understand the differences between a traditional child welfare system and a transformed system

Trainer: Jessica Pryce, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at Florida State University and the executive director of the Florida Institute for Child Welfare. Over the past decade, she has worked on the frontlines of child welfare, conducted primary research, been a policy advisor to Florida’s legislature and taught graduate level courses in child welfare. Her TED Talk on Implicit Racial Bias in Decision Making has over 1.3 million views, and she has presented her research at over 30 conferences. Pryce is a member of the Advisory Board of the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute and currently sits on the Florida Dependency Court Improvement Panel alongside judges and advocates who are working towards a more trauma-informed approach within the judicial system.

Course Code