Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Opportunities for Racial Equity within the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF)

I.    Short-Term Opportunities: Now through November 2017

Design the Department
Headed by the Secretary of DCYF, Ross Hunter, the Office of Innovation, Alignment and Accountability (OIAA) will be responsible for developing the plan for establishing DCYF and its structure and priorities. The plans and recommendations described below are due to the Governor and the Legislature by December 1, 2017.
    
OIAA must:
1.    Consult with stakeholders on the development of the plan to establish DCYF;
2.    Convene research institutions, including tribes, to establish priorities for the department’s structure and outcomes;
3.    Establish outcomes that DCYF will be held accountable to, including:
a.    Short- and long-term population level outcome measure goals for reducing racial and ethnic disparity and disproportionality in system involvement across child and youth outcomes, and
b.    Metrics regarding reducing disparities by family income and race/ethnicity in each outcome.
4.    Establish mechanisms for partnering with community-based agencies, courts, small businesses, tribes, providers of services for children and families, communities of color, and families;
5.    Develop a stakeholder advisory mechanism and include tribes, parents, families, foster parents, and kinship care providers in the development of the mechanism;
6.    Develop an external review protocol for the department to ensure effective implementation of policies and practices'
7.    Include ongoing consultation with tribes, families, and cross-cultural representation of communities of color on both the stakeholder advisory mechanism and external review protocol;
8.    Make recommendations for external review oversight on disparity and disproportionality in DCYF’s outcomes, programs, and services;
9.    Develop a comprehensive and cooperative consultation policy and protocol with all 29 federally recognized tribes in Washington State.


II.    Near-Term Opportunities: Before July 1, 2018

Appointment of Department Leadership and Members to Two Advisory and Oversight Bodies

1.    The Secretary of DCYF will appoint a director for OIAA by July 1, 2018.

2.    The Office of Innovation, Alignment, and Accountability (OIAA) will appoint members of an external stakeholder committee who value racial and ethnic diversity. This committee will advise OIAA on priorities for practice, policy, system reform, effective management policies, organizational culture, external partnerships, best practices, and leveraging resources. The committee must include: 
a.    representatives from a philanthropic organization,
b.    research entity representatives,
c.    representatives from the business community,
d.    parent representatives, 
e.    youth representatives, 
f.    tribal representatives, 
g.    representatives from communities of color, 
h.    foster parent representatives, 
i.    representatives from an organization that advocates for the best interests of the child, and 
j.    community-based provider representatives.

3.    The Governor will nominate non-legislative members to an Oversight Board for Children, Youth, and Families, established in the Office of the Children and Family Ombuds, who will be approved by the Oversight Board’s legislative members. The role of the Oversight Board is to monitor and ensure DCYF achieves stated outcomes and complies with rules, laws, and policies. 

The four legislative members of the Oversight Board will be:
a.    two senators, one from each caucus, and
b.    two representatives, one from each caucus. 

The 14 non-legislative members of the Oversight Board will be comprised of:
a.    one nonvoting representative from the Governor’s Office,
b.    one subject matter expert in early learning;
c.    one subject matter expert in child welfare;
d.    one subject matter expert in juvenile rehabilitation;
e.    one subject matter expert in reducing disparities in child outcomes by income and race/ethnicity;
f.    two tribal representatives, one from east and one from west of the Cascades; 
g.    one current or former foster parent representative;
h.    one representative of an organization that advocates for the best interest of the child;
i.    one parent stakeholder group representative;
j.    one law enforcement representative;
k.    one child welfare caseworker;
l.    one early childhood program implementation practitioner; and 
m.    one judicial representative presiding over child welfare court proceedings or other children’s matters. 


For more information: Jon Gould, Deputy Director, Children’s Alliance.

Download a copy of this paper (PDF).