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Sustaining a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

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October 22, 2020

Sustaining a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

More than 10 years ago, the leadership at Child Advocates, Inc. recognized the disproportionality in the child welfare system, and it took action. The organization began a years-long commitment and intense focus on making diversity and inclusion part of their organizational culture and strategic plan. This year, the program was recognized with the National CASA/GAL Diversity and Inclusion Award.

“I believe that we, as CASA/GAL directors, have an obligation to be leaders in the fight against racism in our country and in our communities,” says Cindy Booth, CEO of Child Advocates, Inc.

Cindy also believes that the program’s volunteers, staff and board should reflect the children they serve and the community they live in. By investing in leadership development to retain high performing staff, including mentoring and training, Child Advocates, Inc. has diversified its staff and is ensuring that individuals with diverse backgrounds are in the pipeline for leadership roles. The organization has also ensured that open and honest dialogue about diversity and inclusion happens at all levels of the organization.

Child Advocates, Inc. obtained funding to bring race equity workshops to CASA/GAL volunteers, attorneys, judges and other professionals in the child welfare community. Today, this program is called Interrupting Racism for Children. Jill English, director of the program, has ensured that the Interrupting Racism for Children program is available to all those who engage with children and families in the child welfare system.

The program moves individuals to take action to stop racism, and those who undergo the training are more aware of implicit bias and institutional racism. Through these trainings, the program has achieved improved outcomes for all children.

The long-term commitment of Child Advocates, Inc. to these important issues is shaping not only its CASA/GAL program, but has made a critical impact on the child welfare system in Indianapolis.