Child Welfare Development Services (CWDS) is hosting a Southern Region Anti-Racism Summit series which is creating a space for Southern California counties to share challenges, strategies, and efforts related to examining systemic racism and building anti-racist practices.
The team is using Workplace (a connectivity platform by Facebook designed for professional purposes) to communicate, share resources, and continue the work in between summits. The summits are not meant to be a training, but instead are designed to build capacity in county leaders to advance coordinated, concrete plans that result in sustainable system-wide changes.
“We have regularly discussed our process of doing this work together and the fact that we are learning alongside the participants,” says Dawn Schoonhoven Scott, CWDS Program Director. “One of the steps we put in place within our summit planning workgroup to ensure that we are really doing the work is to create space to check in on our anti-racist practices.”
To establish a safe space, the summit planning team has been building time into their planning meetings so the last 10 minutes are spent responding to the following questions:
What anti-racist practices did we demonstrate in our meeting today?
Were there any opportunities to demonstrate anti-racist practices that were missed today?
According to Schoonhoven Scott, they have found that reflecting on these questions has created space to talk openly with one another, share feedback, and hold one another and themselves accountable. They began by doing this in planning meetings and are now doing it with the participants at the end of each summit.
Summit participants have developed an understanding of common terms and concepts, created plans to coordinate race, equity, and inclusion efforts across different workgroups and committees, and developed a communication plan to support this work. CWDS is receiving very positive feedback from child welfare leaders about the concrete steps their teams are taking as a result of the work occurring in the summits.