Webinar: How to Measure Child Welfare Disparities and Plan Systemwide Improvements

Posted April 12, 2016
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog webinarmeasuringracialdisparities 2016

To address dis­par­i­ties in how chil­dren expe­ri­ence the child wel­fare sys­tem, you need to be able to do two things: Use the right data mea­sures and under­stand the sto­ry behind what those mea­sures tell you.”

That key mes­sage was shared by Casey Senior Asso­ciate Paula Gen­try in a recent webi­nar, Address­ing Racial Dis­par­i­ties: Data Strate­gies for Mea­sur­ing and Pro­mot­ing Equi­ty.

It’s hard to define and mea­sure some­thing if you don’t col­lect data about it,” said Tracey Feild, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Casey’s Child Wel­fare Strat­e­gy Group. That’s why child wel­fare agen­cies need to col­lect race and eth­nic­i­ty data at mul­ti­ple points through­out the life of a case. When­ev­er pos­si­ble, that means start­ing from the very first point of con­tact — the hot­line — and updat­ing data at mul­ti­ple points afterwards.”

The webi­nar explored key rec­om­men­da­tions in Casey’s pub­li­ca­tion, A Child Wel­fare Leader’s Desk Guide to Build­ing a High-Per­form­ing Agency, includ­ing strate­gies for col­lect­ing and ana­lyz­ing data about dis­par­i­ties in Prac­tice No. 4.

Senior Asso­ciate Kat­ri­na Brewsaugh walked par­tic­i­pants through these measures:

In addi­tion to pro­vid­ing for­mu­las for each, she dis­cussed strengths and weak­ness­es of each approach. Choose your mea­sure care­ful­ly,” she said, and keep mea­sur­ing, espe­cial­ly as you imple­ment new prac­tices and poli­cies and work along­side oth­ers in your com­mu­ni­ty to make sure the chil­dren you serve achieve the best out­comes possible.”

It is crit­i­cal to ana­lyze what is con­tribut­ing to dis­parate out­comes, Gen­try said.

You have to ask, what deci­sion points led to the unin­tend­ed con­se­quence of racial dis­par­i­ty?,” Gen­try said. What poli­cies or prac­tices con­tribute to it? And what orga­ni­za­tion­al norms and myths jus­ti­fy or main­tain the disparity?”

Senior Asso­ciate Robert Matthews defined dis­pro­por­tion­al­i­ty, dis­par­i­ty, equi­ty and equal­i­ty and dis­cussed Casey’s rec­om­mend­ed strate­gies to address dis­pro­por­tion­al­i­ty and disparity.

The webi­nar ref­er­enced resources that can help agen­cies improve data col­lec­tion and analy­sis, including:

With data about dis­par­i­ty at hand, agen­cies can devel­op solu­tions that address the cause of the dis­par­i­ty and pro­mote sys­tems improvement.

Is your agency help­ing all chil­dren fare bet­ter? That’s the urgent ques­tion on which you must con­tin­ue to focus,” says Feild.

The webi­nar was the sec­ond in a three-part series. The final webi­nar is:

Get­ting to Per­ma­nence: The Prac­tices of High-Per­form­ing Child Wel­fare Agencies
June 23, 23 p.m. EDT
How do the most effec­tive agen­cies make fam­i­ly rela­tion­ships and per­ma­nence the focus of their case­work? A look at prac­tices that improve and build fam­i­ly rela­tion­ships for all chil­dren who come to the atten­tion of your agency.

Reg­is­ter for this webinar

The first webi­nar, 10 Prac­tices to Build­ing a High-Per­form­ing Child Wel­fare Agency: An Overview, dis­cussed how to gauge your agency’s effec­tive­ness and chart a course toward mea­sure­able improvement.

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