CWLA National Committee on Equity

I am pleased to announce that CWLA has established a new national committee to provide guidance and advice on its efforts to advance a more equitable, just child welfare system. The committee is composed of a variety of leaders who I deeply respect for their willingness to work with me on this important issue. A guiding principle of our work in this area is to leverage the ideas and aspirations of youth, families, and professionals in the child welfare system. We will build on the work that so many of you in the field already have done to address this issue. I firmly believe that CWLA is at its strongest when we are able to leverage the expertise of all our stakeholder groups.

The initial task of the committee will be to review CWLA’s National Blueprint for Excellence in Child Welfare and ensure that it more intentionally advances equity. The committee also will participate in a variety of listening sessions with families, youth in care, and key individuals from your organizations. One of the opportunities to share your thoughts with the committee will be in the discussion sessions that will be held as follow-up to the October CWLA Virtual Summit.

This is an all-hands-on-deck project, and the committee will need your active involvement. In this communication, I am requesting that you assist in the following ways:
• Send us the name of the point person for equity in your organization so that we may invite them to share ideas with the committee at a meeting to be scheduled in the coming weeks.
• Let us know if you or your point person have an interest in serving on one of the various subcommittees that the committee will establish based on the input it receives over the next several weeks.
• Let us know if you have information about the specific projects, policies, and procedures that you have implemented to address equity issues in your organizations that you would be willing to share. We will collect this information to post on our website to encourage peer-to-peer learning.

These are challenging times. All of you are dealing with the pandemic and the resulting financial fallout. In addition to addressing the critical issue of racial justice and equity, CWLA’s board also has identified as a priority the need to assist agencies with the impact of the pandemic and the resulting limitations to state funding.
The reality is that these issues are interconnected. They all need to be addressed in order to have a child welfare system that will meet the vision that all children will grow up safely, in loving families, with everything they need to flourish–and with connections to their culture, ethnicity, race and language.

Race and racism are not easy things to discuss. But we all must trust in each other and in our shared commitment to children and families to work through our discomfort.

I am, as always, honored to have the job that I have with CWLA. I take my job and all of you so seriously. I think about you, worry about you, and I am in awe of all that you do. I have no doubt that we will continue to work together – even though, at this time, we cannot be together – to get through this challenging period and come out stronger on the other side.


Christine James-Brown
CWLA President and CEO