CWVE 2021: Session Summaries

Thursday, September 23, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. EDT

10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. (EDT) Session 1

Understanding the Past to Build a New Future: Advancing Racial Equity for Children, Youth, and Families

This session aims to expand participants’ knowledge and awareness of how and why racial and ethnic disparities exist in the child welfare system and in outcomes for children, youth, and families. Participants will hear from presenters about the history of child welfare and how structural racism contributed to the development of programs and policies across systems (child welfare, public assistance, criminal justice, and immigration) that have disproportionately affected Black, American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) families, and other families of color. 

Presenters will share national data that illustrates the disproportional nature of who receives child welfare services and disparities in service delivery that impact outcomes. Participants will also have a chance to explore how this history has created our current child welfare systems and examine how racial and ethnic disparities continue to appear in these systems. Throughout the session, presenters, including those with lived experience, will examine, model, and share examples of meaningful shared power and decision-making with youth and families and discuss why this is necessary for building equitable and responsive child welfare systems.


  • Reiko Boyd, University of Houston 
  • Sade Daniels, California Youth Connection
  • Louie Gasper, Young Adult Consultant, Capacity Building Center for States 
  • Jasmine Hayes, Capacity Building Center for States
  • Robert Matthews, District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency 
  • Sandra White Hawk, First Nations Repatriation Institute

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (EDT) Session 2

Using Data and Evaluation to Advance Racial Equity in Child Welfare 

This session explores strategies for moving beyond acknowledging the problem of disproportionality and disparate outcomes to using data to build evidence, engage stakeholders, and move toward racial equity. Presenters will discuss how race inequities can be measured and how to distinguish factors related to race from other commonly examined contributing factors, as well as reviewing strategies, tools, and frameworks that agencies may implement as first steps to assess and address racial inequities within child welfare systems. Participants will explore ways to build data literacy and accessibility for a wide range of audiences so that data can be a useful tool in building a common understanding and moving toward solutions, as well as learning how to better collaborate with families and youth to help agencies and courts address racial inequity using data.


  • Melissa Correia, Capacity Building Center for States
  • Scout Hartley, Capacity Building Center for States
  • Sabrina Selk, Massachusetts Department of Public Health 
  • Sarah Lederberg Stone, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. (EDT) Session 2: Concurrent Planning for Action Sessions

Session 2A: “We See It, We Know It, and Now We Must Do Something About It”: Working Together to Reduce Racial Inequity

In the United States justice system, inequities are especially prevalent for members of racial minority groups, particularly Black and American Indian and Alaska Native people. In the past, the child welfare system has removed AI/AN children from their homes while simultaneously codifying and legitimizing cultural genocide. Today, many families of color in the United States suffer from apathy, discrimination, and neglect; as a result, entry rates, experiences in the system, and outcomes for racial minority groups are disproportionate and disparate. In this Planning for Action session, participants will explore specific strategies for data sharing and collaboration to implement innovative interventions that can improve the work and outcomes of the child welfare court system for children, youth, and families of color.


  • Cody Lidge, South Carolina Court Improvement Program
  • Sheldon Spotted Elk, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges 
  • Alicia Summers, Capacity Building Center for Courts

Session 2B: Exploring the Use of Data to Tell Stories of Inequities

This Planning for Action session focuses on ways to effectively present data in digestible and actionable ways that lead to real change. Presenters will discuss how they have harnessed the power of data to improve outcomes in their communities. Session participants will explore techniques for meaningfully including youth, young adults, family members, caregivers, and other individuals with lived experience in data analysis and data-driven decision-making processes.


  • Haley Eakin, Capacity Building Center for States
  • Devon Gilchrist, Minnesota Department of Human Services
  • Tecoria Jones, Capacity Building Center for States

Session 2C: Co-Creating Race Equity Tools: Practical Strategies for Evaluation and Continuous Quality Improvement Efforts

This Planning for Action session features an interactive discussion centered on ways jurisdictions can integrate strategies to promote equity in continuous quality improvement (CQI) and evaluation efforts. Presenters will explore a new resource (developed jointly by several national organizations, including Casey Family Programs, the Capacity Building Center for States, and Chapin Hall) designed to help jurisdictions take action to apply a race equity lens in CQI and evaluation activities. The discussion will also highlight specific jurisdictional examples that will help participants walk away with concrete ideas for steps they may take in their own CQI and evaluation work.


  • Carla Carpenter, Capacity Building Center for States
  • Elinam Dellor, The Ohio State University College of Social Work
  • Bridget Freisthler, The Ohio State University College of Social Work
  • Yolanda Green-Rogers, Chapin Hall

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. (EDT) Session 3 

From Understanding to Action: Shifting Power Dynamics to Advance Race Equity

Advancing equity in child welfare involves sharing power with youth, young adults, and families and authentically engaging them in advocacy and decision-making at the individual, peer, and system levels. This session offers two “fishbowl” discussions (in which groups take turns speaking and listening) between diverse groups of individuals, all of whom come to the table with lived and/or professional child welfare expertise, as well as a deep understanding of race equity and family engagement. 

Through conversations with one another, speakers will share effective strategies for authentically partnering with youth, young adults, tribes, families, and communities of color to inform and improve child welfare research, practice, and policy. Participants will leave with an understanding of what authentic engagement looks like at different levels, as well as specific strategies and key considerations for advancing race equity through partnership and shared decision-making.


  • April Allen, Spark Learning for Organizations LLC
  • Aubrey Edwards-Luce, First Focus 
  • Arlene Jones, Family Consultant, Capacity Building Center for States
  • Robert “Tony” Parsons, Young Adult Consultant, Capacity Building Center for States
  • Alan Rabideau, National Native Children’s Trauma Center 
  • Madison Sandoval-Lunn, Capacity Building Center for States
  • Shrounda Selivanoff, Children’s Home Society of Washington
  • Krystal Seruya, Capacity Building Center for States
  • Devin Washington, Conquering Walls Counseling Agency

2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (EDT) Session 3: Concurrent Planning for Action Sessions

Session 3A: Co-Creating Equitable Child Welfare Policies and Practice

While children, youth, and families are at the heart of the child welfare system, they are frequently not involved in decision-making and their input often is not solicited or used to inform services. Working in authentic partnership with youth and families, particularly those disproportionately impacted by child welfare, provides an opportunity for transformational change within child welfare to co-create an equitable system. This Planning for Action session features a series of interactive opportunities to explore effective strategies for centering youth and family voice, experience, and expertise in the work of child welfare. Participants will learn definitions of and strategies for co-creation and power sharing and how and why these are essential for implementing policy change at all levels of the child welfare system


  • Robert “Tony” Parsons, Young Adult Consultant, Capacity Building Center for States
  • Shrounda Selivanoff, Children’s Home Society of Washington

Session 3B: Culturally Responsive Engagement and Partnership

The distinction between cultural competency and cultural humility is an important one for individuals and organizations who serve youth, families, communities, and Tribes. This Planning for Action session will give participants the opportunity to learn the importance of moving toward cultural humility and cultural safety while examining their individual and organizations process in sharing power with youth, families, communities, and Tribes.


  • Madison Sandoval-Lunn, Capacity Building Center for States
  • Krystal Seruya, Capacity Building Center for States

Session 3C: Effectively Engaging Fathers of Color

As a result of initiatives around permanency, the ways in which child welfare engages and supports fathers have seen some progress in the last decade; however, there is still more work to be done. Myths continue to exist regarding fathers and their relationships with their children. Some of these myths permeate our systems and create invisible obstacles, known as implicit bias, which impact both the father’s ability to connect with services and family outcomes. This Planning for Action session can help participants identify and support strategies that encourage the equitable engagement of fathers and opportunities to navigate barriers and challenges.

  • Arlene Jones, Family Consultant, Capacity Building Center for States
  • Devin Washington, Family Consultant, Capacity Building Center for States

3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. (EDT) Session 4

Intentional Inclusion: Creating Equity in the Workplace 

Child welfare systems are continuing to work to foster healthy organizational culture and climate and improve the well-being of the workforce. Attention to issues of race equity—in all facets of the organization and workforce—is particularly critical. This session will help participants better understand how child welfare organizations can create equity in the workforce by promoting diversity, emphasizing the need for organizational assessment, creating a culture and environment that values lived experience, addressing moral distress, and combating implicit bias. Session presenters will highlight the need to support workers with lived expertise (expert-level knowledge that is acquired as a result of life experiences) and the quality of supervision required to help these individuals succeed, as well as the important role that workplace culture plays in advancing equity in the workforce.


  • Anita Barbee, Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development
  • Veronica Burroughs, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services 
  • Julia Donovan, Ohio Kinship & Adoption Navigator Program at Kinnect
  • Vannessa Dorantes, Connecticut Department of Children and Families
  • Amy He, National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
  • Jodi Hill-Lily, Connecticut Department of Children and Families 

4:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (EDT) Session 5

Closing Remarks From Aysha E. Schomburg, Associate Commissioner, Children’s Bureau

Dr. Schomburg will discuss the Children’s Bureau’s commitment to racial equity in its work and the actions the Children’s Bureau is taking to advance racial equity in child welfare.


  • Aysha E. Schomburg, Associate Commissioner, Children’s Bureau 

Interested in Learning More About Past CWVE Topics?

Archived sessions from previous Child Welfare Virtual Expos are available on through the Center for States website:

Connect With #CWVE #RacialEquity #ChildWelfare