Disparity and Disproportionality

Workforce

The workforce of a public child welfare agency can play a tremendous role in eliminating 

disparities and addressing disproportionality. Whether a frontline worker is engaging a family 

through a home visit, a supervisor is coaching a frontline worker to improve effective 

communication with a family or a program manager is determining the type of training needed by 

child welfare staff, each plays a part to create fair, equitable treatment for the children, youth 

and families they serve in the system.

 

The agency’s workforce plan can address inequities since it serves as a blueprint for how the 

agency’s workforce will operate. Creating or revising the agency’s workforce plan should involve 

all levels of child welfare staff since all will be required to share the vision, play a part in 

decision-making to support the vision statements and implement the practice model.

 

Another critical area of focus for eliminating disparities and reducing disproportionality in an 

agency is workforce development. Child welfare staff at all levels need relevant knowledge, skills 

and abilities as well as ongoing trainings on equitable treatment and issues of cultural diversity 

to make fair, unbiased treatment of children and families a reality. Examples of specific 

competencies include:

  • Family-centered theory and practices
  • Recognition of how a worker’s own background, cultural lens, beliefs, religion, attitudes and overall perspective serve as an important basis for decision making and the impact this has on service delivery
  • Ability to acknowledge, respect and make room for others with different backgrounds and viewpoints

The ongoing trainings made available to child welfare should not dilute the issue of race just to 

focus on culture. Rather, it should go beyond culture and address the multiple factors that we use 

to distinguish identity. It is also important to note that while no one can ever become fully 

competent and knowledgeable of all cultures, child welfare workers can develop the critical skills 

needed to work effectively with all families with regard to eliminating disparities and addressing 

disproportionality.

 






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