Disparity and Disproportionality

Communications

Communications play a critical role in eliminating disparities and thereby reducing 

disproportionality for children, youth and families. Once a public child welfare agency has 

evidence that certain groups are disproportionately represented in the system due to disparities 

(based on factors such as race, ethnicity, language, etc.), the agency should respond by creating 

and implementing a communications plan to support the agency’s overall strategy in eliminating 

disparities.

 

Addressing Disparities and Disproportionality in a Communications Plan:

 

A communications plan on disparities and disproportionality raises awareness among staff and the 

broader community. A good communications plan provides context and common language about the 

agency’s mission on eliminating disparities and reducing disproportionality. The plan includes: to 

whom the message will be communicated (e.g. children, families, staff, policy makers), how and when 

the message will be communicated, as well as the specific individuals and organizations responsible 

for carrying out the plan. The plan should include agency executive leadership in its development 

and implementation. When developed and executed appropriately, the plan allows everyone involved in 

the relevant communications channels to have a clear understanding of what they are expected to do 

and how they will be accountable for outcomes. Specifically, Communications:

  • Works closely with the agency lead as a starting point to examine the agency’s strategic plan and reviews it for any goals and objectives related to disparities and disproportionality.
  • Helps staff understand the issues of disparity and disproportionality and emphasizes key messages to staff (e.g. helping staff understand that disparity is rooted in institutional and societal inequities). Crafts key messages that avoid common misunderstandings associated with this work (e.g. the belief that under-represented groups do not need attention).
  • Formalizes agency strategies to communicate information on issues of disproportionality and disparities. Without strategic planning, Communications may be relegated to only crisis management communications.
  • Clearly articulates what disparities and disproportionality mean for the organization, particularly how they are measured and observed within the agency through the use of data.
  • Identifies and engages participation from a broad working team including leadership, managers, staff and relevant external rs. For example, the participation of Human Resources may be needed to assess performance management and acquire relevant training for agency personnel.

 






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