The Administration for Children and Families will grant $4 million to fund eight projects that address racial bias and disparity in the child welfare system. Applications are due July 31.
Eligible applicants include state agencies, tribes, and private organizations, with “bonus points” going to applications from organizations whose entire mission is providing services to groups historically marginalized or impacted by racial bias in the child welfare system.
In its Notice of Funding Opportunity, ACF says that “once families most impacted by racial disparities come to the attention of the child welfare system, they are often embarking on a seemingly continuous journey of surveillance, interruption, removal, and for many, eventual break down, leading to lasting adverse outcomes impacting generations.”
“This system, like many other ‘people serving’ systems, is responsible for many structural barriers and racial biases that have contributed to family dysfunction, separation, and destruction under the guise of safety and well-being,” ACF states. “To that end, federal, state, and local child welfare professionals are assessing agency policies and practices for the ways they uphold or combat systemic racism.”
The 5-year grant will fund community-based projects to identify inequalities in their community using data, and to co-design solutions with youth and families who have experience in the child welfare system.
Outlined goals of the projects include exploring and confirming the “local drivers of racial bias” and reducing family exposure to the child welfare system by identifying alternative resources, improving access to services and focusing on community-based approaches to safety and well-being. The projects are to be “based on and informed by community-identified needs.”
Funded projects, set to begin in September, will first undertake assessments of current practices and policies and gather input from impacted families prior to launching the new programs. Upon completion, they will be required to conduct or commission a comprehensive evaluation and develop training materials to help disseminate strategies and lessons learned with other jurisdictions.
Further details are available on the Notice of Funding Opportunity.